Nutrition: Overdoing it
Good food evokes a natural sensation of pleasure that keeps us coming back for more; we have been genetically programmed over millennia to be prepared for famine. But today in Australia where we are rarely denied access to food this has become problematic, and led to an obesity epidemic
Food, isn’t it glorious? It’s so ingrained in our lives that sometimes we don’t even notice that it’s there. Do you sometimes find yourself surprised that the packet of chips or the Tim Tams have gone while you’re engrossed in a movie? Maybe the dog ate it or someone slipped into the house and took them while you were in the bathroom?
It’s quite easy to consume extra calories over and above our daily requirements when we are concentrating on things other than what we are eating. This can lead to gradual weight gain over months and years that we don’t notice until it’s too late. Particularly if the foods we choose are highly processed, the manufacturer has invested a lot of time and money into developing them just for your pleasure. Think about the first few mouthfuls of your favourite chocolates, chips or lollies and what is it that makes you enjoy them so much? Is it; the taste, salty or sweet, the texture, crunchy or melt in your mouth, or is rich and creamy?
Good food evokes a natural sensation of pleasure that keeps us coming back for more; we have been genetically programmed over millennia to be prepared for famine. But today in Australia where we are rarely denied access to food this has become problematic, and led to an obesity epidemic. Now days we have almost unlimited access to energy dense foods with few nutrients that give us signals to say we are full. Food high in fat, salt and sugar are less likely to trigger feelings of satisfaction and we can easily consume more than we need.
Top tips for mindful eating and to help you resist overeating:
- Use a smaller plate at meal times, most plates and bowls are too large and make it easy to over eat. Aim for something around 25cm or less
- Are you really hungry? Rate you hunger from 1-10 with 10 being absolutely starved and 1 being not really hungry. Think about where you are on that scale.
- Eat your meals at a table without the television or other devices distracting you from what you are eating. Learn to recognise when your body says you have had enough.
- If you are going to eat watching a movie or during some other activity, make better choices, such as some plain crackers and a healthy dip. Set yourself a limit and put the rest away before you start.