We like to over complicate things.
I’m not sure if there’s a real psychological reason for this, but here’s what I think;
- We mistake simple/easy for ineffective.
- If we fail at something complicated, we blame the plan because, well, it’s complicated. “I tried, but it was just too difficult”
If we fail at something simple, our ability, commitment and character are brought into question. And we don’t like that.
Whatever the reason may be, it needs to stop.
The last thing you need is to use up more mental RAM every time you eat.
Don’t make life more complicated than it already is, there’s already enough to deal with.
But what if you could do something to help you lose without any extra thought? An autopilot for eating less.
You can. Luckily, or this post would be a bit pointless.
In fact, I’ll do one better, literally, there are two things you can do.
They’re so simple they often get overlooked which is an error.
I’ll share these two “tricks” with you now so you can put them into action straight away.
I’m confident you’ll notice a difference if you do.
Eating Stale Popcorn, Lots of it.
In 2005, Brian Wansink and Junyong Kim carried out an experiment on cinema goers.
158 people were randomly given a medium or a large bag of popcorn to enjoy during a movie. Here’s the catch, some got fresh popcorn and the others got 14-day old stale popcorn.
At the end of the movie, the researchers measured the bags to see how much everyone had eaten. It’s important to note here, that both bags were designed so that they couldn’t be finished.
Those given the large bag, with fresh popcorn, ate 45.3% more popcorn than those with a medium bag.
I know what you’re thinking, maybe they were just hungrier.
Here’s the kicker.
Even those who had stale popcorn ate a huge 33.6% more than those with a medium bag.
Despite the fact that they would have been jaw achingly chewing their way through the bag, they still ate a 1/3rd more than those with a medium bag of fresh popcorn.
This study shone a light on the impact that what we eat on/from has an effect on how much we eat.
To keep it simple, if you reduce the size of the plate you eat on you will reduce the amount you eat.
I appreciate you may think this is too simple, but that’s the thing, you don’t think about these things. The movie goers didn’t consciously eat more, they just did. The same way, that you will fill a plate with more food if there is still room on the plate for food.
A simple swap to eating from smaller containers will require minimum effort but produce significant results over time.
As will the next trick.
Calm the f**k down.
Ok, a moment of honesty.
I’m terrible for this. I once ate a whole tub (500ml) of Ben n Jerry’s in less than 10 minutes. I didn’t realise until I went in for another spoonful and bottomed out. Sad times, but lucky, I could have done another tub.
Our stomach and brain use something called the gut-brain axis to communicate. The problem is, it takes a little while for the signal to travel between the two.
In today’s fast-paced world we’ve picked up some terrible eating habits.
We eat while on the computer, at our desk, on in front of the TV. We eat fast, hardly breathing between mouthfuls. It’s like meals are an inconvenience in our day and need to be over as fast as possible.
This nearly always ends the same way, we eat too much.
You finish your food, but still feel hungry, so you eat a little more. You may have eaten enough, but the ‘I’m full’ signal from the stomach hasn’t had a chance to reach the brain yet.
By the time this happens, you’ve had your second course and then BAM. You’ve gone from still feeling hungry to undoing the top button of your jeans. By the time the signal reaches the brain, you’ve overeaten and gone from satisfactorily full, to stuffed. We’ve all been there.
Don’t buy bigger jeans just yet, there’s an easy fix.
You have to work with your brain and play the game.
Slow down when you eat.
You ideally would take about 20 minutes to eat a meal.
This will give the stomach a chance to have it’s chat with the brain and let it know what’s going on.
If you eat fast, this will seem like a long time so here are some tips to make it easier.
Don’t eat alone (if possible).
Enjoy food with others. Talk between mouthfuls, listen, talk and relax.
Put your knife and fork down between mouthfuls. Sometimes I put another bite of food in my mouth before I’ve even finished the first one! What’s the rush? Habit I guess.
Experience the food.
Food should be an experience. What’s the point in having all these different flavours and textures if you eat so fast you can’t enjoy them?
Chew, feel the texture, taste the flavours, take in the smells.
Side note: Chewing more will also help with digestion.
Food is not fuel. Food is not macros. If you’re one of those people who thinks like that, then crack on with your fish and rice cakes, flex bowls and shitty hashtags.
Take back the pleasure of food. Not only will you enjoy it more, but it will make fat loss easier. It’s a win-win.
Take it one step further.
Stop eating when you’re 80% full.
We often eat until we literally can’t eat anymore. Having to lie or sit down after meals, meat sweats, food coma, all common things.
This isn’t how it’s meant to be. We aren’t meant to eat until we feel full, that’s a sign you’ve eaten too much.
Stop at 80% and wait. If after 5-10 minutes you still feel hungry, eat a little more. If not, then stop.
Again, give the body a chance to catch up with you’re eating.
If you combine the eating slow with the 80% full rule, you’ll be golden. Both compliment each other and become more effective when used at the same time.
Here’s what to do now.
- If you have big plates, consider downsizing or finding one smaller plate to eat from.
- Time yourself and see how long it takes to eat a meal. I am sure you’ll surprise yourself. Next meal, try and eat a little slower. You don’t have to go all the way to 20 just yet, just add 5 minutes and try that. Then increase from there, use the tactics I gave you.
- Alongside the rule above, stop eating when you’re 80% full, wait, and see if that changes. Stop eating or eat a little more depending on how you feel.
It might not be as ‘advanced’ as calculating every gram of what you eat, while carb cycling and avoiding gluten in a handstand, but does that it make it less effective?
Don’t believe me? Try it.
The way I see it, you’ve got nothing to lose but weight.
If you have any questions, please let me know. As always, thanks for reading, and thanks for being Kommitted.