Ap­pe­tiz­ing tips to curb overeat­ing

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - HAWAII RENOVATION -

QUES­TION OF THE WEEK: This is prob­a­bly go­ing to seem like a strange ques­tion, but is there any­thing I can do around the home to curb overeat­ing? The feng shui food flow is “too good” in my house.

It is not a strange ques­tion at all! How­ever, rather than ap­proach­ing this from a feng shui per­spec­tive, I’ve gath­ered in­for­ma­tion from var­i­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal psy­cho­log­i­cal stud­ies, be­cause most of the in­for­ma­tion in feng shui is geared to­ward en­hanc­ing ap­petite, not sup­press­ing it.

En­vi­ron­men­tal in­flu­ences on food con­sump­tion

It was sur­pris­ing to learn how much of our eat­ing be­hav­ior is af­fected and ex­plained by what is hap­pen­ing in our en­vi­ron­ment, but that just might ex­plain why many peo­ple put on weight dur­ing the hol­i­days, de­spite their best ef­forts not to. Nu­mer­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors ex­plain why many of us have de­vel­oped cer­tain eat­ing be­hav­iors. Hope­fully, you can use the fol­low­ing ques­tions and an­swers to raise your aware­ness and guide your eat­ing be­hav­ior at home and at par ties:

• How many peo­ple are in the room?

In gen­eral, stud­ies show that the more peo­ple in a room dur­ing a meal,the more each per­son will eat be­cause the in­flu­ence of so­cial norms is more prom­i­nent. • How re­laxed is the at­mos­phere?

We tend to eat more when we are with oth­ers whom we know well.The re­laxed at­mos­phere usu­ally ex­tends the time we sit down to a meal and di­min­ishes our aware­ness of the amount of food we eat.

• How much food is vis­i­ble? The more food you can see in the room, the more you will eat. Kitchens are get­ting big­ger and more open than ever be­fore, ex­pos­ing us to more vis­ual and sen­sory cues for eat­ing.

• How ac­ces­si­ble is the food?

The more ac­ces­si­ble the food, the faster and more we eat. Stud­ies showed that by mov­ing candy bowls just 6 feet away in the same room, in­take was re­duced by half.

• How much va­ri­ety of food is there?

We eat more when a greater di­ver­sity and va­ri­ety of food is vis­i­ble. If you imag­ine a ta­ble filled with plates of food, but the only food served is fried rice, you’d likely not eat as much.

• How many serv­ing bowls are out and what size are they? The big­ger the serv­ing bowls, the more we eat.

• How big is the por­tion? Many ex­per­i­ments showed that we eat in pro­por­tion to the amount served. In other words, we will eat the whole por tion re­gard­less of how big it is or how hun­gry we are.

• What is the shape of the food and the food con­tain­ers? We tend to eat more when the food is cir­cu­lar, be­cause it ap­pears smaller, and we eat more when it is served in wider con­tain­ers. Peo­ple pour greater amounts of drink into wide cups than they do into tall cups.

Mind­ful eat­ing

Now that you know what en­vi­ron­men­tal cues cause you to un­con­sciously eat more, you can choose to be more mind­ful in how you serve your­self and how you cre­ate your eat­ing en­vi­ron­ment in your home.

Do you have a ques­tion for Alice? If so, send it to alice@ yourhap­pi­nessu.com. Alice Inoue owns Hap­pi­ness U, a life­style stu­dio lo­cated at SALT Kakaako where any­one can find pos­i­tive in­spi­ra­tion and high-level guid­ance to min­i­mize stress and op­ti­mize mod­ern day life! YourHap­pi­nessU.com

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