Remember that bad joke we used to say in the 90’s? “I am on the see food diet. I see food and I eat it. Haha!” Well it turns out there is some truth to that statement. We tend to eat the food we see. You know what I am talking about! How about those brownies in the break room? Can’t resist. Or the Costco freebies? Consider it a meal! Or the times when you are not hungry but you find your hand in the candy bowl? It happens. Why?
Because you think about the food more. The moment you see the food you are hardwired to want it. Your mouth begins to salivate and you begin to think about what it would be like to take a bite. Even your digestive enzymes begin to increase. At first you may say no, but every time you see those brownies again it becomes harder to resist. In fact it can be exhausting. If you are hungry then it becomes even more difficult to refuse the food item.
In Mindless Eating, the author discusses an experiment he performed with a group of secretaries. One group was given clear glass bowls with lids on them containing 30 Hershey Kisses inside. The other group was given a solid color glass bowl with a lid containing 30 Hershey Kisses inside. Every night the researchers would replenish the bowl of chocolate. The researchers reported that the group with the clear glass bowl had their hand in the bowl 71% more often, and ate an average of 77 more calories. This just goes to show that we tend to eat what we see.
But how can you use the see food diet to your advantage?
You got it! Showcase more foods that are good for you.
Instead of putting your fruits and vegetables in the drawers of your your fridge, put them on the shelves where you can SEE them! Place your cheeses, meat or condiments in the drawers instead. This way when you open the fridge you see fruits and veggies first. In sight in mind! This might also help reduce the amount of produce you throw out.
Instead of a bowl of candy or cookies on the kitchen table, place a bowl of cherry tomatoes or plums.
Rearrange your cupboards. Try to move chips, soda, and candy to areas you will not see them as much. That could even mean placing them in a cupboard in the garage. Out of sight out of mind! Instead place whole grains, nuts, dried fruits, and homemade snacks in sight. In sight, in mind!
Can’t refuse stopping for doughnuts in the morning? Try taking a new route to work. Changing up your routine may help stop you from having to make a decision in the first place.
But are these suggestions going to stop you from seeing food that is not good for you? Of course not! During the moments of brownies in the break room, or cookies on the kitchen table, just stop and be aware. Become aware of what is happening and how you are feeling. Know that you are programmed to want the food. You may choose to eat it or not. To be honest it does not matter. But being aware of what is happening is the first step toward mindful eating.