How many food decisions do you make in a day?
Most people guess between 20 and 30. Do you want yogurt or Froot Loops? Do you want orange juice or water?
But it’s not just what we eat, it’s whether you pour a little or a lot, how much milk you pour, if you pour seconds, whether you have toast, what you put on it, whether you eat it before or after a piece of fruit, whether pour a second bowl of cereal, and so on. Many people make 20-30 food decisions simply during breakfast. Every time you look at a donut and say “No,” you’ve made a food decision.
We discovered this in a number of different ways, but one way was simply by having people walk around with one little stadium counters and click it every time they thought about food. What we’ve found is the normal weight person makes about 200 decisions about food a day. But heavy people make closer to 300 more food decisions.
The problem is that most of us aren’t really that conscious that we’re making all of these decisions, so we can easily be influenced by the size of our cereal bowl, the distance of the box from where we are sitting, what our partner is doing next to us, and what we’re reading on our phone or watching on TV.
For most of us, the solution to Mindless Eating is not mindful eating. It’s not to be aware of all 200 of these decisions. That would take most of our day. Instead, the solution is to set up our live so that these 200 decisions we make guide us to eating a little less or a little better. If the size of your cereal bowl is leading you to eat too much, it’s easier to use a smaller bowl than to repeat to yourself, “Pour less, pour less, pour less.” Using a smaller bowl is a resolution we could all keep.