Eating Life Series: Are you a secret eater?
Influenced by the BBC documentary series: Secret Eaters.
Got a big fat lie?
Are you gaining weight and got yourself convinced you have no idea why? Can’t lose weight, tried everything, and have no clue why nothing is happening?
Sure, from time to time we all stuff our gut with food we wish didn’t count. However, some of us incessantly try to convince ourselves and others that we live on a much healthier diet than we actually do.
In reality, many of us are simply in denial about what we eat and lie about what and how much we are actually stuffing into our mouths..
“The average person during the course of an average day makes over 200 food-related decisions,” says Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating. “But if you ask someone what that number is, they say around 30.”
According to the US Department of Public Health and Safety, the average person eats an average of six times a day: three big meals and three snacks. The US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service estimated that in 2000 the average American consumed slightly under 2,700 calories per day but that this number has since increased by at least 25%.
There are a lot of factors to consider, but the number of calories the average person is said to consume or should consume per day to maintain their existing weight is around or just under 2,000 calories, but most of us are overeating daily without even noticing.
“Our research has shown that on average, people pour about 20 percent more when they use a larger plate or a larger bowl,” says Koert van Ittersum, an associate professor of marketing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
What is happening? Why are we eating so damn much?
Perhaps even though we are eating, we don’t realize that we are actually self-medicating. After all, we live in a cut-throat society of the insatiable workweek that charges a massive toll on everyone, including our ability to heal and feel. There’s also an element of time and cost involved – sugar and refined corn syrup are incredibly inexpensive and available at every fast food joint, so why not exploit the hell out of it?
The workweek gives us only enough to scratch by. We buy only what we can afford in the time that we have. The cycle continues and the corporations, who create the largest amount of deadly stress on the planet, make another zillion off of this ridiculous and dangerous propaganda.
We eat our emotions, we eat on the run and we eat in a stressed or numbed frame of mind. How can we truly consider this eating if we aren’t really present while doing so? The disconnect between mind and body creates a lot of confusion and chances are, we’ll eat more, even if what we’re eating is a good thing.
Researchers at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that it’s not children who watch TV who weigh more, but children who watch commercials.
Think of the last time you ate. What was the actually quantity of everything? What was your frame of mind and where were you?
Now think of the last time you over-ate.
Fill in the blank: Last time I over-ate was because ______ .
Fill in the blank: I stop eating when ______ .
Is our weight-gain really that much of a mystery?
Are you truly eating as healthy as you can but still gaining weight? Is your weight gain due to this or that or this or that due to your weight gain? How many excuses have you been able to creatively conjure up? The predicament can be astonishing!
A truth of the matter is that we are in denial. We don’t want to believe that what we are putting into our body is A) too much; B) unhealthy, and; C) we don’t want to acknowledge the unhappiness or the pain within ourselves and in our lives.
Healthy in and no healthy out?
Why aren’t we repulsed by a towering plates of food that could easily serve six? Is it really all about the bargain or has it simply become a norm of mindlessness and a way to maintain in a stressed-out society?
The only way to end mindless eating is to become mindful and little changes can have huge, positive impacts.
If you are still truly stumped about your weight mystery, try some of these tips:
* Are you present while you are eating of drifting off into space, TV-land, mindless conversations or re-living episodes from the past or unforeseen future? If you are, chances are what you are eating isn’t registering at all, but a mechanical act feeding who knows what.
* How large is your plate? Big or small, become aware of the serving size for one. Don’t overcompensate for a smaller plate or feel like you have to fill-up a large one. Practice feeling your stomach and the first signs of feeling full.
* Try a food diary to keep yourself honest and without becoming too rigid or going ridiculously over-board, become aware of your food intake.
* Avoid eating at places where there are pictures of food on the wall (for example, dishes from the menu).
* Avoid the grab-n-dash and please, don’t eat in your car.
* Do you really need that snack or are you just thirsty?
* If it’s bad for you and if you’re tempted by it, don’t have it in your house. Get yourself a bowl and put fruit in it instead.
“What did we expect when we took fat and sugar and salt and put it on every corner?” asks Dr. David Kessler, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and author of “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite.”
How are we not calibrated to eat optimally? We’ve been eating all of our lives.
What are your thoughts?