Health Topics

Healthy Living

March 2010
7 Factors That Cause Overeating
Sunita Pant Bansal
You have just finished eating a sumptuous dinner, and are waiting for the bill, when you see the person sitting diagonally across you eating a triple sundae – and you ask for the dessert menu…
packet of chips next to you, which you were munching while watching an intense movie – and now it is empty… Sounds familiar? This happens to all of us. But the good news is, if we can identify the environmental cues that sabotage our diet, resulting in weight gain – then we can react smartly and take intelligent decisions

Here are seven factors that commonly cause overeating and weight gain – let’s be aware of them, to tackle them intelligently:

Sights & Smells
Overeating can be triggered by the sight of tempting food; the smell of the food being cooked or served; even advertisements of food, and so on. So, beware of these temptations!

Distracted Eating
Distracted eating is the act of unconsciously putting food in your mouth, while sitting in front of the television, reading a book, or checking emails. It is also easy not to register the bites you taste while cooking. Or, when you are finishing off the last bites from your child’s plate. Eat mindfully, so that you enjoy the taste of the food, and you will feel satisfied sooner.

Easy Availability
Everywhere you turn, there are opportunities to eat – fast-food restaurants and cafes are more commonly seen than the usual shops, the food courts in the shopping malls have the highest footfalls and even the petrol pumps have started selling food. And when food is so readily available to us, we tend to eat more of it. Curb your instinct to overeat sweets and snacks by moving them out of sight.

Inexpensive Food
Fast-food restaurants on every corner offering inexpensive food also encourage us to eat more and more often. Combo meal deals always sound like a good bargain. Limiting visits to fast-food restaurants to once a week would help.

Jumbo Packages
We always find good bargains on jumbo-sized packages, but unfortunately, these giant packets can affect us on an unconscious level and cause us to eat more. When you eat from a large packet, you are likely to consume 25 to 50 percent more than you would from a smaller packet, especially when you’re eating snacks and sweets. If you can’t stop munching while watching a movie, buy smaller helpings.

Size of the Dishes
We tend to eat more when we are served in larger dishes. When we use smaller bowls, plates, spoons and cups, the food looks more plentiful. Daintier dishware and smaller utensils also help to slow down our eating.

Too Much Variety
A buffet restaurant can be a dieter’s nightmare. Too many choices encourage having a taste (or more) of everything, and before you know it, your plate is full. So use variety to help meet your nutritional needs, but concentrate on the right foods.
Sunita Pant Bansal  is Senior Wellness Consultant for Apollo Life
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