As the holiday season is now upon us, there is one topic that newspapers, magazines, news shows and blogs can’t get enough of – weight. With all of the gluttony partaking during this time of year, a lot of attention is paid to how to escape the holiday season without extra inches on your waistline. In my opinion, it’s a waste of time. Those people who do a good job with their health throughout the year aren’t likely to suddenly lose interest for an entire month and a half. And those people who are happy at 300+ pounds aren’t like to pick the holidays to suddenly start counting calories.
But screw it. I’m still going to write about it.
For those of you who have almost zero self-control when it comes to pigging out on a daily basis – or at least not being able to resist that daily donut in favor of some egg whites – there’s some new research out of the University of Minnesota that might be able to help. The study shows that when it comes to fatty and sugar-laden food, you need to really pay attention to it while you’re eating. But when it comes to carrots and celery, make those meals a distant fourth-thought on your mind.
The reason is satiation. As anyone takes in more and more of something – whether it be a decadent cheesecake, back-to-back-to-back rides on Millennium Force at Ohio’s Rocking Roller Coast, or watching an entire season of Friends in one sitting – things lose their appeal the more of it you have. And the more attention you give what you’re doing, the faster your satiation levels rise.
In the study, researchers had people use a click-style counter to keep track of the number of bites of food they consumed. For those with already good amounts of self-control, it didn’t make a difference. But for those who can’t help themselves, the counting did the help for them. It forced them to pay more attention to what they were eating, helping them to reach satiation faster.
However, there is another edge to this sword.
Paying close attention to what you’re eating also causes satiation levels to rise faster for healthy foods as well. So when it comes to healthy foods, eat them while you’re watching TV, finishing up some work at the office or otherwise not paying attention. I suggest taking in your super-healthy meals quickly and while otherwise occupied, but eating tastier offerings at a table with no other distractions and taking your time.
The paper “Healthy Satiation: The Role of Decreasing Desire in Effective Self-Control” was authored by University of Minnesota professor of marketing and logistics management Joseph Redden and published in the Journal of Consumer Research.