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A Good Read – Mindless Eating

by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | July 17th, 2016

A Good Read – Mindless Eating

If you are wondering how you gained those 10 pounds over the past year but you were eating about the same, then Mindless Eating- Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink, PhD, might be the book that you want to read. I did not set out to read the book this past week however once I started, I could not stop. A lot of the findings in the book are based on research that was done on ordinary people which adds to its credibility.
In the book, he states that the best diet is the one that you do not know you are on. We know that when people consciously decide to diet by giving up something they enjoy or restricting their diet to a particular food group, once they go back to their regular diet, they tend to gain more weight. Although there may be many factors that contribute to obesity for example lack of sleep, a medical condition like thyroid disease or lack of exercise, what we eat is a major factor; however we may not be fully aware of what contributes to our eating behaviors. For example if something is labeled low fat, we tend to eat more of that particular item because we think it is healthier than the regular item. What you might not realize is that low fat items tend to have more sugar and can sometimes have more calories  leads to weight gain.
Obesity and overweight are the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. We can do something about it but we really have to make a conscious effort. What does the research show:

1. It takes 28 days to break an old habit and develop a new habit – Pick a habit that you think that you can keep, for example, no eating while watching television. When watching television, you eat more and those added calories lead to weight gain.
2. Instead of trying to eat right, think about eating better – Do you need to drink three cans of soda – consider cutting down to 2 cans and then gradually one can. There are a lot of wasted calories in those cans.
3. Think about food trade-offs – say to yourself, if I am going to eat x, then I have to do y. My weakness is ice cream. When I do eat ice cream, rest assure, I have walked 3 miles that day.

4. Create your personalized food policy – For example, if your weakness is late night eating, you might decide not to eat after brushing your teeth and brush your teeth earlier in the evening.
5. Reengineer the following:
a. Meals – be the last person to get your food and stay at the pace of the slowest person eating, you will eat less.
b. Snacks – Although it might be cheaper to buy in bulk, you will eat less if you buy items individually wrapped. Pay attention to serving size.
c. Parties – Minimize the time spent around the food area – If you see the food, you will eat it.
d. Restaurants – consider boxing half the food before it gets to the table.
e. Desk – when you have food items at your desk, you will eat it because it is visible. Consider getting rid of the candy dish or placing it on the bookshelf where it is out of reach.

What gets us into trouble are those extra 100 calories we eat with each meal that adds up. To maintain and/or lose weight, we can eliminate those 100 calories by considering the above. The book is available at your local library. If you have a long commute to work, you can get the audio version. Happy reading.

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The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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