In my opinion, flat out, most people are lazy! If we have to do something twice, we probably won’t. Heck, we’re lucky if we get it done at all. Thank God our lungs are on autopilot.
It’s no secret that Americans love food. With an overweight population hovering around the 70-percent range, the cat’s way out of the bag on that one. And as I already mentioned, most of us are lazy, too. San Diegans may be a little more active than the rest of the country, but overall, we don’t like to move a lot!
I started thinking—how driven is a person to go back for seconds, thirds and fourths if something as simple as a plastic wrapper was standing in the way of sweet, salty, crunchy bliss? Being the super-fitness ninja spy that I am, I set up an experiment. I invited 10 people over for dinner. Five were designated to eat portioned foods while the others had a buffet. No one knew about the experiment.
I set out a bunch of snacks on separate tables: portioned and un-portioned. The portioned snacks were individually wrapped, the un-portioned were, of course, not. The exact same snacks were available: cheese sticks wrapped and cheese sticks unwrapped; peanut butter with rice crackers in individual packets, and some laid out in the open; veggies and hummus in containers, some scattered about the tray; drinks in cans and drinks in 2-liter bottles.
Here is what I discovered: Everyone who grabbed pre-portioned snacks went back only once or not at all. People who were able to graze like cattle did just that. Went back for more, and more, and more.
Pretty interesting, huh? I know it’s not the most controlled experiment, but it gives a pretty good indication that you are less likely to overeat if your food is portioned out. Why? For starters, we’re lazy, but mostly it’s a mind trick.
Having to tear through another can of soda or a second small bag of chips makes us realize what we are doing. For the two minutes it takes to get up, go back to the kitchen, open the fridge/cupboard, grab another item, go back to the couch, sit and open, your brain was actually able to register what the heck was going on. Realizing, “Hey, I’m kind of being a pig here!”
I mean, would you ever open and drink five cans of soda? Eww, gross. But people drink 60-ounce cups all the time and don’t think twice about it.
My advice for controlling your eating: mindless portion control. Below are a few foods that are already portioned out for you. All you have to do is tear, eat and enjoy.
- Peanut butter packs: Great way to carry around some protein. Grab an apple and you’ve got a killer snack.
- Single-serving organic chocolate milk: Perfect post-workout snack. One of
- Greek yogurt: Don’t forget to add some berries.
- String cheese: At 80 calories a stick, you can’t afford not to have these.
- Dried fruit: Very easy to overconsume, so look for individual packs of prunes, apricots and cherries.
- Nuts: Again, eat too fast and you’re 1,000 calories in. Look for unsalted packs.
- Applesauce: Not just for kids. Make sure there is no sugar added.
- Veggie bags: Sometimes it’s just more fun and more motivating to have them ready to eat.
- Hummus: Finally! Grab a bag of pre-portioned veggies to go with it.