It’s a fairly common assumption that this holiday season goes hand in hand with a bit of weight gain. Personally I say ‘Why not!!’ but I have found an interesting article on Science Blog that I have decided to tell you about. I personally would recomend reading the article yourself (s’only 5 paragraphs long!), but if you’re too lazy, here is what I think is the most pertanent paragraph:

“It’s an insidious effect,” Herman says. “People are often rudderless in eating situations and they look to the activity of others, their own previous behaviour or other social cues to guide them and thereby consume more than they need. Frequently, eating occurs within what we have termed a zone of biological indifference, in which the individual is neither genuinely hungry nor genuinely sated. Without any particular biological reason to start, continue or stop eating, we are particularly vulnerable to socially based influences.”

The article is a short summary about the effects that social contact has on peoples eating habits. In essance, people let habit and what’s going on around them decide what and how much to eat, rather than how hungry or full they are.

This leads quite nicely into Intuitive eating. This is something that I’ve been meaning to blog about for some time. Simply put, if you want to maintain a health weight then eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Everyone that I’ve shared this “New and exiting idea” with has been distinctly unimpressed, and to be fair it does seem to be ridiculously obvious. However, below is a list of ‘eater styles’ and you may see how easy it could be to ignore those simple biological signals. Perhaps you’ll identify with some of them, I know I did. Personally I do have a tendancy to fall into the ‘Refuse-not’ and ‘Waste-not’ categories. Not all the time I’m glad to say but it’s certainly interesting to notice.
It is really hard to leave food on the plate, it’s pretty much tradition in our society that a clean plate at the end of a meal is a good thing. I have though, on a few occations (after reading about this ‘intuitive eating’ malarky) had some left overs. Even if they end up being thrown away I think this is probably a good thing, as it helps me guage how much I should cook for myself.

  • Intuitive Eater. Trigger: biological hunger. Makes food choices without facing any guilt or any ethical dilemmas. Honors hunger and respects fullness.
  • Emotional Unconscious Eater. Trigger: uncomfortable emotions. Stress or uncomfortable feelings trigger eating, especially when alone.
  • Unconscious Eater. Trigger: eating while doing something else. Often unaware that he or she is eating, or how much is being consumed. Many subtypes.
  • Chaotic Unconscious Eater. Trigger: overscheduled life. Eating style is haphazard. Person eats whenever food is available.
  • Refuse-Not Unconscious Eater. Trigger: presence of food. Especially vulnerable to candy jars and food served at meetings.
  • Waste-Not Unconscious Eater. Trigger: free food. Susceptible to all-you-can-eat buffets and free food.
  • Careful Eater. Trigger: Fitness and health. Appears to be the perfect eater, yet agonizes over each morsel.
  • Professional Dieter. Trigger: feeling fat. Perpetually dieting; often tries the latest commercial diet or diet book.

Sources:
Intuitive eater
Science blog
My Brain ™