Avoid “eating with your eyes”

Avoid “eating with your eyes”

I stated my belief in last week’s column that fad diets as a method of long term, sustainable weight loss do not work for the vast majority of people.

It was interesting to see Professor Chris Hawkey, president of the British Society of Gastroenterology, confirm that theory to a conference of top doctors earlier this week.

We need to be paying far more attention to our bodies needs and protect ourselves from the psychological traps around us.

This week’s tip is all about avoiding eating with our eyes.

An interesting concept, you may be thinking, allow me to explain.

I love experiments that emphatically make a point.

One such experiment was shown on TV a while ago and emphasised how much we overeat due to “eating with our eyes”.

A group of people were taken to an American Style Diner every morning for a week to eat breakfast.

They were each given one of those “super size” cooked breakfasts with all the trimmings.

Each cleared their plates every day.

The next week the same people were taken back and served the same food, but this time they had to eat it blindfolded.


Avoid “eating with your eyes” - Mark Darlington


Every single one of them reported that they felt full and stopped eating with HALF of the food left on the plate.

So what happened here?

We very rarely tune into how full our stomachs feel, taking our cues from whether our plate is empty or not – “eating with our eyes”.

When the participants couldn’t do this they reverted back to paying attention to their stomachs.

When they were full they stopped.

This mimics the mindset of a naturally slim person.

When they are hungry, they eat and when they are full, they stop.

When we eat consciously and pay attention to how full we are, we eat less.

If the average person reduced their portion size by a quarter, most of them would not notice a difference at all and still feel as satisfied after a meal.

To take this to the next level and trick our eyes and brains further, you could even reduce the size of your plate slightly.

Do your own experiment this week, reduce your portions, eat consciously, slowly and stop eating when you start to feel full. Let me know how you get on.


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