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See Food, Must Eat! How to Avoid Food Triggers and Stop Mindless Eating

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You can stop putting stuff in your mouth just because it's in front of you. To stop mindless eating, start here.

Mindless Eating

Have you ever come across a tray of hors d'oeuvres you didn't sample? Or a bowl of chips? A box of doughnuts? Put something edible in front of us, especially finger food, and many of us will pop it into our mouths -- regardless of whether we're hungry. It's like a reflex, and it probably harks back to our cavewoman days. "Food calls out to us, even if we've just eaten, because we're hard-wired to be turned on by its sight and smell," says Judith Beck, PhD, author of The Beck Diet Solution and director of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research in Philadelphia. "It's nature's way of ensuring our survival, because our ancestors had to eat whenever food was available."

Many millennia later, of course, this biological drive could use an upgrade. "It's mismatched with our current food environment, where, for example, there are 17 kinds of candy at the gas station, video store, and pharmacy," explains Marlene Schwartz, PhD, director of research at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity in New Haven, Connecticut. "The problem is that these drastic changes have occurred in the last 30 years, which isn't enough time for us to have evolved."

That is, as a species, we haven't biologically adapted. But as individuals, we can train ourselves to stop our automatic eating response. The first step is "to be aware that anything you eat that is not for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a planned snack is most likely not consumed out of hunger," says Howard Shapiro, MD, author of Picture Perfect Weight Loss. "It's mindless eating if it's not mealtime." The next step is to have a playbook for the many instances when food can unexpectedly appear. Here's how to handle some of the most common chance encounters.

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sunflowersince1999 wrote:

I've tried to follow these rules. Really I did. But its just so hard. I tell myself I shouldn't but its no use. I'm like a monster.

12/29/2013 04:00:33 AM Report Abuse
a3984502 wrote:

Right now I am following the Diet Plan for You blog by nutrition specialist Kate Hill. Kate helped me lose weight in a healthy way in few weeks, without starving! If you want to lose weight, just visit Kate's blog at:

3/4/2012 03:23:00 AM Report Abuse
dara_woo-hoo wrote:

we actually grow shorter and smaller in general, and we live longer because as science and technology advance we know figure out what's good and what's bad for our bodies. People used to use LEAD to whiten their complexions, for example...!!

12/24/2010 02:29:58 PM Report Abuse
savsmith79 wrote:

Behave Kids...

5/4/2010 12:05:28 PM Report Abuse
peanut6661 wrote:

jenisdog_crazy, c'mon, don't you think life evolves at some level? even if we've only been around for 3 thousand years, our bodies have changed drastically during that time. we live longer, and grow taller than our ancestors.

5/1/2010 09:08:54 PM Report Abuse

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