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Mindless Eating – join the Small Plate Movement

By Michelle May, M.D.

Brian Wansink Ph.D., director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell CIMG0019 and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, says that we make about 200 food decisions each day – but are unaware of most of them. He started the Small Plate Movement to help people re-engineer their environment to make some of those unconscious decisions work in their favor.

I was a psychology major at ASU so I loved reading about all of the ingenious experiments in MIndless Eating. I found the experiments particularly facinating because they put science behind many of the strategies for coping with environmental triggers that we’ve been teaching in our Am I Hungry? Workshops for the last decade.

Here is one simple example from my own home. We bought a CIMG0016new set of dinnerware last year. I was shocked by the size of the bowls – they looked like mixing bowls! In fact, I rarely used them because they seemed almost obscene. The other day I was browsing around Sur La Table, a gourmet cookware store, and I was drawn to these little square bowls that were on sale. I didn’t even bother to buy the rest of the dinner set; I just wanted the bowls. Just look at the huge size difference!

I love eating from them because they’re beautiful and dainty, and they help tell my brain what my body knows – I have enough food. Just like they showed in the lab, the same amount of yogurt, cereal, and blueberries just got lost in those troughs but in my new bowls, it is plenty!

Take a look at your own dishes, platters, serving spoons, glasses, and location of your food; share your ideas about re-engineering your environment to reduce your triggers for mindless eating.



About the author

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yo-yo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs and Training. She is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle , winner of seven publishing awards. She is also the author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating, and Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. Michelle shares her compelling message and constructive keynotes with audiences around the country, offers workplace wellness programs, and has trained and licensed hundreds of health professionals to facilitate Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs worldwide. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, the Discovery Health Channel, and Oprah Radio, and quoted in Diabetic Living, Fitness, Health, Huffington Post, Parents, Self, USA Weekend, US News & World Report, WebMD and many others. Her personal success story was published in Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul. Michelle cherishes her relationships with her husband, Owen and grown children, Tyler and Elyse. She regularly enjoys practicing yoga and hiking near her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She and Owen, a professional chef, share a passion for gourmet and healthful cooking, wine tasting, photography, and traveling.

One Comment

  1. Pilbara Pink says:

    I agree – this simple move will change how much you eat without even thinking about it, as we almost always fill a plate or bowl to the same level regardless of how big/small it is. I have done this (and not coincidentally lost around 132lbs!). Of course I did other things too but to this day (2 years on) I still eat from my small bowl and plate. Just yesterday my husband suggested we buy more small bowls as he is planning to change to them too.

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