It doesn't matter whether you are young or old, slim or overweight, or how much schooling you have done - we are all incredibly vulnerable to eating mindlessly - polishing off the packet just because it's there, finishing the plate because that's how much is served. Too bad the pack size and plate sizes have increased over the past few decades! And when portions are increasing, this mindless eating slips our bodies into a dangerous weight gain cycle. A food and eating awareness diary is the best way for you to improve your mindful munching.
Food diaries work best if you write down what you eat and drink at the very same time that you are popping the items into your mouth. If you leave the record keeping until you walk out of the food mall or until the end of the day, then more and more error will creep into your records. That error rate can be as much as 50% (that's half) - you are probably eating/drinking twice as much as you wrote down! An unbelievable fact but research proves it.
If you have a mobile/cell phone with camera built in, then consider taking snaps of the food/drinks before you start or failing that, the evidence of consumption in the form of empty wrappers/packaging at the end. Photos are a quick and reliable way to record and prompt your memory. Place an object of known size (such as your wallet or purse) beside the food so you better judge the food's actual size. This works best with plated or served meals but you can use a camera-phone just about anywhere, so try this extra method to improve your mindful munching.
For a free eating awareness diary, open here.
Read more about eating awareness - mindful or mindless eating and why we eat more than we think we do, at a couple of our dietitians' favourite sites: "MIndless Eating" and "Food Psychology and Marketing".
And attached with permission from the authors, a sample Mindless Eating newsletter.