Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Visual cues

Tuesday Tip: Visual cues 👀

Portion control is one of the biggest issues when it comes to losing weight.

We often gauge how much to eat by how much food is placed in front of us; the eat what’s on your plate approach. This even holds true when the plate refills e.g. in one study those that had soup in a bowl that refilled from a hidden tube in the bottom consumed 73% more soup than when eating from a regular bowl.

When it comes to snacks (biscuits, crisps etc) “you can’t eat just one,” right? If we have larger bags we eat more. With the current cost of living crisis this is likely to become more of an issue if we buy in bulk to save costs. However visual cues to portion size mean people eat less e.g. in one study on stackable crisps (Pringles) researchers inserted a red crisp to indicate portion size. Participants weren’t told what the red crisp indicated. Those with the red crisps tended to stop eating sooner than those without. It acted as a sort of “stop sign,” a subconscious indicator you’ve had enough. In another study participants were given unlimited fried chicken wings whilst watching a film. One group had the bones cleared from their plate regularly, one didn’t. Those that didn’t ate far more as they acted as a visual indicator of what had been eaten.

Essentially there are 3 reasons we overeat beyond satisfaction in these scenarios:

– We lose track of how much we have eaten

– We perceive a ‘normal amount’ of food to be whatever the serving size happens to be.

– Eating has become a semiautomated habitual activity, which continues until interrupted e.g you’re focused on the tv instead

Visual cues help regulate how much you eat by showing the appropriate serving size, letting you keep track of what you’ve eaten and by interrupting the semiautomated eating we tend to do when watching a film etc. How can we do this?

⁃ Use smaller plates or bowls = smaller portions. you’ll automatically eat less.

⁃ Buy pre-portioned snacks or measure out your snacks into a bowl and leave the packet in the cupboard etc.

⁃ Leave wrappers, drinks cans etc on the table so you can see how much you’ve already eaten/drunk.

⁃ Pay attention to what you’re eating and avoid mindless eating for an extended duration.

These small changes can lead to big calorie savings over time!

Happy Tuesday 🤗


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