Mindless Margin

For those of you who have been rejuvenated by the New Year to make healthy changes in your diet and exercise, congrats!  I am sure the first 2 weeks have gone fantastic, eating healthy, not missing a workout and feeling great. However I suspect there are those of you who are ready to pull your hair out because “I am making all the right choice, working out and nothing is happening”.  All week in clinic I have seen clients who are deflated because all their efforts are not leading to results.

If this is you lets consider the Mindless Margin! The mindless margin is a concept from one of my favorite books Mindless Eating, Why We Eat More Than We Think, by Brian Wansink.  There are cues all over our environment that we don’t even realize that lead us to overeat and not lose weight.

Lets breakdown the Mindless Margin concept:

If you came into my office today and I made you eat and finish a 2000 calorie Thanksgiving dinner, you know that you would feel stuffed! Or if you came into my office and I made you get on my treadmill and walk until you burned 2000 calories with no food or water, you know you would be starving. You physically know the difference between starving and stuffed.

But lets say you and I have lunch everyday together. I always make you a big salad with 1/2 cup black beans and 2 oz grilled chicken breast with 2 Tbsp of a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  However today I decided to give you, 3 Tbsp of balsamic vinaigrette dressing, about 100 extra calories without telling you. Would you physically or visually notice?

Nope! We do not have the physical ability to know the difference between 200 calories or 300 calories of a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

What does that mean, if each day you ate 100 calories of extra food, this can lead to about 10 pounds of weight gain by the end of the year.  Let me tell you 100 calories is not a whole lot of food! That’s 8 potato chips, or 1 tsp honey, or 5 dark Hershey kisses, or 1 large orange or 1/4 cup of granola.

So if your progress has stalled, start to think about your day. Did you grab a bite off your spouses plate? Have you been grabbing mint candies off of a coworkers desk each time you pass by? When you are packing your lunch or plating your dinner are you picking at some sweet potatoes? Or when you pour a class of wine at night are you giving yourself a generous pour of 8 oz rather than 4-6 oz because you had a rough day?

All of those little mindless decisions can add up and stall your progress and motivation. My challenge for you this week is to look at the all the areas where you could be mindlessly eating and pick 2 to eliminate. Here are tips for you to try to eliminate mindless eating!

Finally below is an interview with Brain Wansink, I strongly encourage you to listen closely, there are a lot of great tips in how to avoid the Mindless Margin!


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