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Mindful Binging

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wrapped up the book "Mindless Eating" – great at giving tips and tricks to scale back on the amount we eat. I have seen a lot of the tips and tricks Dr. Wansink recommends (smaller plates, filling plates 1/2 veggies – 1/4 protein – 1/4 starch, divvying up larger portions into single serving baggies, etc), but never really knew about the research behind why these tips work.

He also didn’t go into why I might have a binge eating problem. I would recommend his book for someone who is just getting started with weight loss and wants to know more about how food works against us. I did take away the following insights:

1. Cravings: If we consciously deny ourselves something again and again, we’re likely to end up craving it more and more. And we can’t rely on willpower when we’re making 200 food-related decisions each day (That “no, no, no” eventually turns into a “yes.”) This is frustrating to me because how am I supposed to then “consciously deny” myself bread for the rest of my life? Doesn’t sound like it’s going to work, does it?

2. Your Stomach has Three Settings: “I’m Starving,” “I’m Full but I can Eat More,” or “I’m stuffed.” I need to pay attention to that mid-point. This is why portioning out servings before sitting down to eat works – if you still have chips left in the bag or food left on the stove, you’ll continue to eat and ignore the fact you are full.

3. Beware Variety: The first bite is always the best, so we eat more when there’s more to choose from. (Hence the reason I avoid buffets. And now avoid All You Can Eat Sushi - wp.me/p1N36Q-eI ). Dr. Wansink recommends never to have more than two items on your plate at any one time.

4. The Cookie Comfort Link: Cookies are my downfall ( wp.me/p1N36Q-1K ). I think I’m addicted to carbs and NOT an emotional eater, but I shouldn’t rule it out completely. Perhaps something else is at work – maybe I associate cookies with Christmas baking with my Mom, or fun times at birthday parties as a child… Studies show that if you’re in a good mood and want to keep the feeling going – or if you are having a rough week and want to feel happy – you might think of your comfort food.

5. Nicole as Nutritional Gatekeeper: As the primary shopper and cook, I’m the “nutritional gatekeeper” for my family. Because of this – according to Dr. Wansink – I control 72% of the food decisions of my spouse as well (Except when it comes to wheat). Maybe this isn’t working out so well for me, though. Perhaps I should let my husband take over for a week – I just have a hard time relinquishing that type of control. I get the sense I would be eating a lot of hot dogs and PBJ.

I requested The Sugar Detox from Interlibrary Loan (my own library doesn’t carry it), so hoping to get that one next. Does anybody have any other recommended reads?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I think Christa's absolutely right. At some point your food choices/decisions become habits and routines. That's when they become less burdensome, because you don't really have to think about them much. "I just don't eat bread anymore. It makes me feel crappy so I learned to avoid it."
    1614 days ago
    ChristaSP - thanks for the suggestions! I actually have not read any of those yet, but have heard of Geneen Roth before. I gave up on looking for her book when I learned my library didn't have it - but now that I know about "Interlibrary Loan" I'll request it through that venue.

    Thanks again!
    1614 days ago
    1614 days ago
    Great blog! I 'liked' it. Thank you for summing up those points, very interesting. I'm going to check out the book.

    With regard to your question at nr. 1: I think that maybe (hopefully) if you want to cut out wheat, it will become a habit, not something you have to decide on consciously time and time again.

    Weight coach Marna Thall offers a lot of insights (some for free) about the stages of hunger. She distinguishes 10 stages of hunger and a lot of tips on how to learn to recognize and respect those settings. I learned a lot from her.

    For myself I know I'm an emotional eater. If you have not yet read a lot about emotional / compulsive eating, it may be worth your while to read a few books about it to be better able to know which is which. I recommend authors Geneen Roth, ('Breaking free from emotional eating' is her best book if you ask me) and Marna Thall. I also liked Anita Johnston, Munter and Hirschman, and to a lesser degree Karen Koenig (the first part of Koenig's book 'The rules of normal eating' is GREAT but the second part I didn't find very useful and too theoretical / psychological). I am thinking about getting the book 'Shades of Hope' about food addiction. Have you tried any of these authors?

    1614 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/23/2013 10:47:45 AM
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