When it comes to losing weight, how you eat a meal may be just as important as the foods you choose to eat. It's not just bad food choices that lead to weight gain, but the manner in which you eat a meal. Here are four bad eating habits that can wreak havoc with your best made weight loss plans.
Eating on the Go
Eating on the go is a bad eating habit but on that almost everyone engages in at one time or other. A busy lifestyle makes enjoying a leisurely meal impractical for some people. The problem with eating on the run is it leads to the wrong food choices - such as fast food. Fast food is also food you usually eat fast.
Eating fast is a sure-fire recipe for overeating. When you wolf down your food, you don't give your brain enough time to get the message that you're full. It usually takes about twenty minutes for your brain to get the message that you've had enough. Eating on the move also increases levels of cortisol - the stress hormone that promotes weight gain in undesirable areas like the waist and abdomen. Time to slow things down!
Eating in Front of the Television Set or Computer Monitor
Are you guilty of dining in front of your computer in the office or sat at home watching TV? This is another bad eating habit that contributes to weight gain. When you're distracted by your favorite reality show or busy at work, you quickly lose track of how much you're eating.
The key to eating less is to focus in on the experience of eating rather than what's happening on the TV or on Facebook. Learn to appreciate the sight, smell, and taste of food and savor each mouthful as you eat. When you do this, food becomes more satisfying and fulfilling - even in smaller quantities.
Using the Wrong Dishes
The size of the plate or bowl food is served on has a psychological impact on how much you eat. A study published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that dining off of larger plates and bowls encourages people to eat more.
You'll also eat more food when you dine off of brightly colored plates, especially red, orange or yellow. These colors stimulate your appetite. Ever notice how fast food restaurant signs are usually in shades of yellow, orange or red? Now you know why. They're trying to make you hungry! To break this bad eating habit, serve your food on smaller plates and bowls in dark, muted shades.
Dining in a Social Setting
People who eat meals in the company of others consume more calories than those who eat by themselves. How so? Eating alone lets a person focus in on the experience of eating, while dining with a group calls attention away from how many calories they're taking. Plus, people feel justified in eating more when their dining companions are indulging in calorie rich entrees and desserts. Serious about losing weight? Dine solo.
The Bottom Line?
Making healthier food choices is part of the game but so is creating an eating environment that doesn't make it easy to overeat. Punt these four bad eating habits, make better food choices and you'll have an easier time controlling your weight. It's not always easy but it's certainly worth it the effort.
Medical Daily. "Want To Stop Snacking So Much? Try Eating Off A Red Plate" Appetite 58 (2012) 299-302.