Mind games to lose weight?

Mind games to lose weight?

What size plate do you use for your dinner? What about the spoon? Have you ever noticed the order of the foods in a buffet?

A recent experiment done with the audience of the TODAY show looked to find out just how much these factors could influence how much someone eats.

Brian Wansink, professor at Cornell University, directed the experiment in hopes to “trick” the guests into eating less.

“How much we eat and what we eat almost has nothing to do with how hungry we think we are,” said Wansink, in a TODAY news release. “It’s all psychological.”

The experiment came off the hinges with the idea that people can actually lose weight without dieting and feel fuller a lot faster just by a few simple mind games.

Wansink said, in the release, that it’s about the order of the food, the size of the plates and the size of a serving spoon.

To test their idea, TODAY split their audience group in two, each group having 12 people. They set up the buffet with healthy foods first that include salads and fruits and provided regular-sized plates and serving spoons.

The second group was given bigger plates and spoons and the unhealthier foods, like pasta dishes, were placed in the line-up first. But all the choices were still the same, just in a different order. Wansink said that the foods that are placed at the front of a buffet are the “trigger foods.”

“[These foods] trigger every other decision that you make after that,” Wansink said. “So if it’s healthy, everything else you’re going to take is more likely to be healthy.”

What they found was that the first group loaded up their plates with the healthy foods and didn’t leave much room for the fatty foods at the end of the buffet.

Wansink said they found that nearly 70 percent of what people take from a buffet is from the first three foods they see.

TODAY gathered the two groups and shared the results. They found that the second group who had the larger plates and spoons ate 56 percent more food than the first group.

Wansink said: “We eat with our eyes and our mind, not our stomach.”

He recommends trying to use smaller plates when in a restaurant or even at home.

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About the Author

Sarah Scroggins
Sarah Scroggins

Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.