When I am not writing on the Needy Helper, I am traveling around the world writing about poker tournaments. As a live reporter I often work between 12-15hrs per day and it plays havoc with my eating habits. My first concern when I am on the tour is to eat as much free food as possible. The live reporting scene is not laden with big fat pay cheques and so you need to work hard to reduce your costs. Free food comes in two forms on the tour. The first time we see it is during breakfast, at the hotel, and the second time is when dinner is served. We often have a gap of 8-10hrs in between breakfast and dinner and both meals are served buffet style.
Remember your stomach can’t count
When it comes to working out how much food you have eaten, your stomach and your memory are about as reliable as a pair of chocolate sunglasses on a one eared blind man walking through the desert. Our bodies are not designed to accurately record how much we have eaten, and so we need help. In the great book Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink he provides you with details of experiments that prove that if you could see how much you have eaten it would help reduce the amount you intake.
We believe our eyes and not our stomachs
So our bodies need visual stimuli to help us understand when we should stop eating. So what should we do when confronted with a problem like a buffet breakfast or buffet lunch? Our instincts are to grab the widest variety of food possible, mainly because we love different types of food but also because it is free. This type of behaviour is going to plunge us into an unhealthy state of over eating.
We eat in volume not in calories
So in this instance use the plate as visual stimuli. Your body knows that if you eat a plate of food you are going to be satisfied, so serve yourself one plate of food and do not go back for seconds. Make sure the plate is loaded with the types of foods that are good for you such as fruit and vegetables. If your mind thinks you have eaten a big plate of food it will tell your mind that you are full. If you only eat a plate half filled with food, your body will tell your mind to feel hungry.
Did you know that if you pre-plate your food in one sitting instead of going back and fore, you will eat 14% less food? Does this sort of behaviour ring true with you? Share your story.
Buffet style eating is an excellent way of explaining Wansink’s philosophy. Over recent years this style of eating has become vogue with chains of buffet style restaurants springing up all over the place.
I love a good buffet because not only do you get a great choice of different foods, but you also believe you are getting good value for money. Unfortunately, in order to gain from these benefits, you have to over eat.
I praise myself for doing well with my eating habits when I am at home and then destroy all of my good work when I am at a poker tournament. I am hoping by writing this I inspire myself to make the necessary changes.
Photo courtesy of Morrissey (cc @ flickr.com)