Don't rely willpower!
There was a study made over twenty years ago by Brian Wankink on the sustainability of food packaging. During the study, he accidentally made a discovery.
They were giving moviegoers bags of popcorn to see if they ate more from large packets. They ran out of large packets so had to use much smaller one’s (110-calories). What they found was that people with four small bags at half as much as those with the large 440-calorie bags. The participants also said they would pay 20 percent more if snack companies sold them in smaller packets. So, Wansink had discovered that you could make more money by selling less food! Brian Wansink is a multiple author and has done over 1,200 studies on eating behaviours.
What is clear is that we are totally at the mercy of our environment.
What does this mean?
We don’t know as much as we thought we did about our eating habits. We make hundreds of decisions each day, all based on things in our environment and different cues. In another study by Wansink, they gave 2 out of 4 participants a bowl of soup that (unknown to them) was refilling automatically. These two participants ate over 70% more, yet did not say they felt fuller. The take home here is, we eat with our eyes and not how hungry your stomach feels!
The visibility of foods and utensils has a heavy influence on how we eat. Studies show that the bigger your plate, the more you eat. If you can see a food nearby you are more likely to eat it thank if it’s 6-feet away or more (again another study shows this).
Where you eat, in which room, how you set the dinner table, what you can hear, TV on or off. All of these things will have influence on how you eat and your habits surrounding food.
When you start to look at these factors instead of relying on willpower, you can begin to setup your environment to work for you and thus create more consistent, healthier eating habits.
Author, Nick Lower
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