Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Attentive Eating

Tuesday Tip: Attentive Eating 😋

Although calories are the overall determinant of weight loss/gain there are many factors which influence how likely you are to stick to your calories. One such issue is distracted eating. Distracted eating is becoming increasingly common due to today’s increasing reliance on electronic devices etc. Attentive eating is essentially removing distractions whilst eating, and monitoring the true amount of food being consumed. This allows you to more accurately remember how much you’ve already eaten which can help reduce over eating for the rest of the day. It helps you to focus on what you actually need food-wise , rather than relying on external cues like plate size, packet size etc.

A recent review of 10 studies showed a significant increase in the amount of food consumed when distracted e.g. by TV, mobile phones etc. I’m sure we’re all aware of times when we’ve been focused on our phones or the TV and not even noticed the plate of food we’ve just inhaled! The studies also showed that there was also an impact on meals later in the day. So those who were distracted would then go on to eat more in subsequent meals. This is related to the working memory of what you’ve eaten. If you’re distracted then the memory of what you’ve eaten is distorted (you remember eating less than you did which results in eating more later). A simple study tested this by asking participants to recall what they’d eaten in their last meal before eating an afternoon snack. Recalling previous meals led to participants eating less, compared to those that recalled non-food related memories.

So what does this mean for us? Distraction definitely increases the amount of food consumed both at that time, and later on in the day, and impacts on your memory of what you’ve already eaten that day. So removing visual distractions and eating attentively will help reduce the chance of over eating. Actively considering what you’ve already eaten that day before you eat the next snack/meal also helps. In terms of the practicalities of doing this this is yet another reason why tracking your food can really help you to stick to your calorie goal.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

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