Years ago I read Mindless Eating, which changed my relationship with food and habits forever. I was over the moon when the author released a second book, and I read it cover-to-cover the first day! I've now read it twice and for the next few weeks, I'll be sharing key points with you in a mini Slim By Design series. (I read all the books so you don't have to!)
Mindless Eating teaches us that “we're nudged more by our eating environment and things like 100-calorie packs than by our deliberate choices.” Thus, it's 1000x more effective to change our eating environment than resolve to have better willpower. (Wansink says willpower alone won't conquer bad eating habits in 90% of us!)
So...what's the worst thing you can have on your counter?
According to Wansink's research in Slim by Design, if you have cereal on your kitchen counter, you'll weigh 21 pounds more than your neighbor who doesn't.
Wansink explains that most of us have to walk through our kitchen before we go anywhere else in the house, and if we have yummy, convenient food right there, we'll eat it. The more visible and reachable a food is, the more you're likely to eat it.
I took all food off our countertops a few years ago when I became a minimalist. I found the open, uncluttered, clear surfaces made for a more zen environment, a necessity in my battle against anxiety.
Right away I noticed our cereal started going stale faster, or boxes would remain unopened for a long time. I stopped buying it, figuring my family lost the desire... they go in waves with their likes anyway. Now I see what really happened!
Interesting, when I opened Happy Herbivore HQ, I brought in a ton of complimentary snacks (like That's It Fruit Bars and McDougall soups) and put them in a pretty basket on top of the communal mini fridge, which happens to be inside the coat closet.
No one ever ate the treats—so I sent out an email “the snacks are free” and even put a little sign “Free” next to them. But still they went uneaten, even though I know everyone eats these things at their own homes.
Now I understand: The freebies were out of sight and the only time they were in view, was when my employees were getting their lunchbox! A time when they were already getting other food.
Of course, when I put dark chocolate raisins out in the open, they were gone immediately. Sure you could say it's CHOCOLATE, but I'm betting being in view made all the difference—and it did! Because there were “extra” dark chocolate raisins in the closest with the other freebies, and no one was eating those.
Moral of the story: remove all breakfast cereals from your kitchen counter so you're not tempted.
By the way, Wansink's research of tens of thousands of people confirm that even the smartest, most disciplined calorie counters are influenced by their surroundings, so if you think “now that I know this I won't do it”, you're wrong ;) (I speak from embarrassed experience)
Plus with the meal plans, you should always have plenty of healthy, premade options in the fridge or freezer waiting for you too! Or use one of our instant breakfast ideas :)
Get the current meal plan now.