Have you ever cleaned out the last few crumbs from the chip bag? How about those cookies that were a few days old, luke warm french fries, ice cream with frost bite, or the last dinner roll because it shouldn’t go to waste? Infants and toddlers eat in response to intuitive information from their gut, then they evolve into adults who eat for external reasons. If you are overweight, your reasons for eating exceed hunger and may include boredom, fun, entertainment, stress, all of which are generally mindless automatic routines.
Mindless behavior is defined as an act done without concern for the consequences. What would happen if you drove your car, packed your bags for a trip, took a test, or conducted a meeting in a mindless state? The very perplexing aspect of human mindless eating behavior is, that it’s repeated frequently with continual complaints about the consequences (those extra pounds) and no lasting efforts to change the behavior.
No one goes to bed skinny and wakes up overweight. If you are overweight, you may not remember changing your eating and exercise habits that produced the body you are seeing in the mirror today. When do you start or stop eating? Most Americans stop eating when they are full, while those in leaner cultures stop eating when they are no longer hungry. Americans also frequently start eating when they are not experiencing hunger. The foods consumed when hunger is not the indicator to start/stop eating more than likely fall into the mindless category.
If you are mindful enough to identify when you are no longer hungry and STOP at this point opposed to mindlessly continuing to eat until you are full, your calorie intake will likely decrease about 20%. The calorie difference between full and too full/miserable is an additional 20%. Translated into real calorie numbers: if you are mindlessly eating until you are full 3 meals/day and your calorie intake is 2100 calories/day, then you decide to be mindful and stop eating when you are no longer hungry this will decrease your calorie intake approximately 420 calories each day which will produce one pound of weight loss in about 8 days.
Mindful vs. Mindless is a great way to discover the truth about what you are eating and avoid the consequences of those extra pounds. Making this behavioral change from mindless to mindful is not an easy task. It requires guidance, support and encouragement from an RD/LD who is experienced in this cognitive behavioral change process. Consider for a moment the thought of losing weight, changing your relationship with food, enjoying all food and social occasions which include awesome food in the absence of feeling worried, deprived, or guilty… what are you waiting for?