Friday, November 23, 2007

Mindless Eating

Molly and I braved the crowds this morning and went to Wal-Mart at 4:30 am. Wal-Mart really has this down to a science. They allowed the crowds to come in and wait in the warm store, but customers weren't allowed to put anything in their carts until 5 am. Jesse's Christmas present to me was a Sony Cyber Shot camera, 7.2 mp, which is a huge improvement over my 2 mp Kodak that's five years old. We zipped through the store and were back in the van by 5:30. We drove up the road to KMart, which didn't open until 6. They didn't open the doors until 6, leaving us all in the 7 degree temperatures. When the door did finally open, people were racing down the aisles. We got one of the last three DVD players, and they were almost completely out of the cheap DVDs. We were home again by 7 am, and I made cinnamon rolls to wake up the guys. Mia was, of course, already awake. Doogie & Jesse spent the day cleaning out the basement so that the computer can be kept down there. Our little bedroom just doesn't quite have enough room to hold a queen sized bed, two bookshelves, nightstand, computer desk, and my baskets of books. It looks great down there now, and Doogie is completely set up with Gamecube, DVD player, VHS, radio, phone, computer, and plush rocking chair. We may never see him again.

Yesterday's meal at my mom's was great. I made my double layer pumpkin cheesecake, Mom made lots of the necessities: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and Jake made his fruit salad. We watched the Packers stomp the Lions (whoo-hoo) and screamed at the TV between bites of food. I don't ever have the kids on Thanksgiving (it's part of the custody agreement, in return I always have them on Easter), but their dad brought them home last night. Jesse worked on homework while the three kids and I curled up on the couch together and watched Ratatouille. Fantastic movie, but I never could get my mind around the idea of rats touching the food. I have a strong suspicion that the movie is going to end up under the tree Christmas morning (along with Meet the Robinsons).

Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink is a scientific view at why we eat the way we do and how we can change it to be healthier. I read some of Wansink's work in a recent TIME Magazine article, and I was hooked. I know that our emotions tend to control what and how much we eat, but I had no idea just how much our environment affects it. This is not a diet book, but Wansink offers several ideas for changing your mindset to encourage healthy weight loss. A few facts: we tend to want to eat the same amount of volume of food to feel full. If air or water is added to make the food appear larger, we will eat the same amount and feel just as full. Three year olds will eat until they are sated. Five year olds will eat the amount of food put upon their plate because they assume that it is the appropriate amount. If you are eating with 2 people, you will eat 50% more food than if you were eating alone. If you are eating with 7 or more people, you'll eat 96% more food than if alone. You'll eat more M&Ms in a bowl with 10 colors than with 7 colors. Wansink has done the most amazing experiments to determine why we eat the way we do, and it's a fascinating read. I couldn't put it down, and ended up reading much of it out loud to my husband. Wansink says if we add or subtract 100 calories a day to our diet, our body won't really notice, but it will mean the difference between gaining or losing a half pound a week. If we up the weight loss too much, our metabolism slows down making it harder to lose weight. Great ideas are included to change our eating habits and lose weight without noticing it. 50/50 plating of food: half of the plate should be protein and starch, the other half should be fruits or vegetables. Use smaller plates and taller glasses. I love this one: put ice in your drinking water. Your body has to work to warm up the water so if you drink 8-8 oz glasses of ice water a day, you'll burn 70 calories just from burning up the ice, and you won't even notice it! This is an idea even I can implement! Wansink writes like someone you'd love to invite to dinner for his scintillating conversation, as long as he wasn't watching what you ate!

Still no noticeable effects from the Enbrel, but I've been running pretty hard the last few days. And the Christmas decorations are sitting in the living room, so I guess I'll be putting those up this weekend. I hope you enjoy yours!