The acid test for mindless eating is wolfing down a food when we know we are not hungry. How many times have we done this? Most of us could start counting as recently as today.
Over coffee, a new friend commented that he had lost 30 pounds within the past year.[i] When I asked him how, he explained he didn’t stop eating potato chips, pizza, or ice cream. He ate anything he wanted, but if he had a craving when he was not hungry he would say – out loud – “I’m not hungry but I’m going to eat this anyway.”
Having to make that declaration – out loud – would often be enough to prevent him from mindlessly indulging. Other times, he would take a nibble but be much more mindful of what he was doing.
[i]This person, Jay S. Walker, also supplemented this with lots and lots of exercise.
You know how it is. One day you are mindlessly eating ice cream in front of an open freezer door and – bam – all of a sudden you remember you have to be at the Academy Awards ceremony in three days.
How do the movie stars lose those last minute pounds before walking the runway at the Oscars? An article in People showed that what they usually do is drastic, painful – and temporary.[i]
•Emma Thompson: I try not to eat sugar, and I don’t eat bread and biscuits. Actually, to be frank, I really don’t eat any of the things I love, which is unfortunate. But I will get back to ice cream soon, which is my favorite food.
•Tara Reid: I won’t eat that morning and that week I will only eat protein – egg whites and chicken. It makes a big difference. You look hot for a week, but you gain it all back the next. I also drink way more water.
•Vivian A. Fox: I pop herbal laxatives and drink as much coffee as I can to flush everything out.
•Melissa Rivers: I limit my calorie intake and work out like crazy. I try to eat really clean the week prior. I always substitute one meal for just a salad with dressing on the side, and I dip my fork in the dressing.
•Bill Murray: I did 200,000 crunches.
Drastic? Yes. Successful? As you can see from their answers, these deprivation diets worked only as long as was absolutely necessary. Five minutes after the Academy Awards ceremony is over, it is back to the normal routine, and the 10 pounds that were lost begin to find their way home again. Unless you are not yet finished with your 200,000 crunches.
[i]Quotations were adopted from “Last-Minute Diet Secrets, People, March 16, 2004, pp. 122-5.
For 30 years my Lab and I have focused on discovering secret answers to help people live better lives. Some of these relate to health and happiness (and often to food). Please share whatever you find useful.
This video of one of my post-docs gives a flavor of one type of research that we've done: