Visual ‘Stoppers’ Help Slow Mindless Eating

Visual ‘Stoppers’ Help Slow Mindless Eating

Do you remember the potato chip commercial tag line “betcha can’t eat just one”? Well, researchers from Cornell University may have a clever way to help us with this mindless eating problem.

In a recent research project, Cornell Food and Brand Lab Director Brian Wansink found that visual “stoppers” helped curb overeating.
(Photo by Robin Wishna)

The study involved 98 students who were given a tubes of stacked potato chips to eat while watching videos in class. In the first study, one set of tubes contained red chips that were placed in the stack at the suggested serving size of seven chips. In the second, the red chips were stacked at five chip intervals.

These visual “stoppers” produced some impressive results. Students eating from the red chip tubes ate 50 percent less than the control group.

“People generally eat what is put in front of them if it is palatable,” said Cornell Food and Brand Lab director Brian Wansink in a news release. “An increasing amount of research suggests that some people use visual indications such as a clean plate or bottom of a bowl to tell them when to stop eating.”

Putting a visual “stopper” to remind you when to stop eating could be something you may want to add to your healthy eating arsenal.

For other tips on portion control, check out our post on “Finding food traps“.

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Eat Smart! Finding Hidden Food Traps

Eat Smart! Finding Hidden Food Traps

Unless you take time to measure everything you eat, you may be falling into “hidden food traps”.

People don’t realize how much they are eating, according to Brian Wansink, PhD, whose research has focused on perceived consumption vs. actual consumption.

One study Wansink conducted found that something as simple as the shape of a glass increased the serving size. Even though both glasses had the same volume, people poured about 37 percent more liquid in short, wide glasses than in tall, skinny glasses.

“Most of us have too much chaos going on in our lives to consciously focus on every bite we eat . . . The secret is to change your environment so it works for you rather than against you,” said Wansink during a presentation at the American Psychological Association’s 119th Annual Convention.

So how do you make this work for you? By making these few changes, participants in a Wansink study lost up to two pounds a month.

  • Eat off of salad plates instead of dinner plates
  • Keep healthier food at eye-level in the fridge and cupboards, and keep unhealthy food s out of sight
  • Eat in a dining area and not in front of the TV
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12 Alternate Ways to Get Your Steps In

12 Alternate Ways to Get Your Steps In

1. Participate in a charity walk or fundraiser. You’ll benefit your own health while helping to benefit someone else, a community goal or other worthy cause. Numerous websites provide information about local walks and search features. Fitness Magazine provides a list of charity organizations that host walk/runs benefitting causes like curing Alzheimer’s Disease, breast cancer and ending domestic violence.

2. Go antiquing. Take a stroll through time and marvel at the things people used in the past. Many towns and cities have “antique districts.” Often, you’ll find shop after shop after shop all within walking distance.

3. Visit the zoo, an aquarium or play mini golf. You’d be surprised at how many steps accumulate as you stroll along, observe or participate.

4. Go to a museum or an art gallery. Check with your city and see if there are any new exhibits in town. Who knows? You may find a new interest you didn’t know you had!

5. Become a volunteer dog walker. We all know the majority of us aren’t getting enough steps in. This probably also means that dog owners aren’t out walking their dogs as much as would be optimal. Chances are, you know a few dog owners who love their dogs and would love for their furry friends to get out and enjoy a walk. You’ll get your steps in and make a dog’s day.

6. Visit a craft fair, farmer’s market or other outdoor show. Many towns and cities have something going on every weekend and often during the week as well, depending on the theme. Do an online search for local events or farmers’ markets in your area.

7. Attend a music fest, rodeo or other festival. Some of these types of events last for days. Austin, Texas’ popular SXSW festival usually runs for about 10 days. Attendees can purchase passes by the day or buy a pass for the entire event. Run a search for music fests in your area. Websites like Music Festival Wizard keep track of events nationally. Rodeos in large cities cover huge areas with booths, events and concerts. Lots of steps to get in at these events! Visit Everfest online to locate rodeos near you.

8. Go window shopping or visit an outlet mall. Make a promise you’ll walk the whole thing before stopping more than a few seconds and only then will you go back to browse in the store where you saw that ONE thing you needed! Visiting a new city and not sure where the malls are? Visit Outlet Bound to discover outlet malls near you.

9. Find a botanical garden, a hiking trail or local nature trail. Does your community offer a walk along a river that runs through town? Do you have a nature center in the area? What about a wildflower or Christmas tree farm that allows visitors to stroll through? The American Public Gardens Association offers a search feature to help you locate a variety of public gardens in your area.

10. Offer to visit people in the nursing home who are in wheelchairs. Seek permission to take the elderly out for a walk and offer to push wheelchairs.

11. Play a game like Pokemon Go with your kids and see how far you can walk while locating monsters like Pickachu.

12. Visit a local fort, mission or other landmark that requires you to walk around and observe it both inside and out. Offer to pick up litter at these or other historical places. Helping to keep your community and its landmark’s in great shape and looking clean not only helps your community and the environment but also gives you a sense of purpose while getting your steps in – further improving your own wellbeing!

*Our 12 steps were based on and adapted from the suggestions in 10,000 Steps a Day to Your  Optimal Health by celebrity fitness trainer, Greg Isaacs.

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9 Foods that Boost Metabolism Naturally

Your metabolism is (unfortunately) partly ruled by genetics. If you inherited your mom’s slow-mo metabolism, there are ways to give it a little boost. Rev it up naturally by eating right. Fill up on the following nine foods to increase your body’s fat-burning power.

Egg whites

Rich in branched-chain amino acids, which keep your metabolism stoked, says Chicago nutritionist David Grotto. Eggs are also loaded with protein and vitamin D.

Lean meat

Lean meat is full of iron; deficiencies in the mineral can slow metabolism. Eat three to four servings of iron-rich foods, such as chicken or fortified cereal, a day.

Water

If you’re even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down, says Dr. Scott Isaacs, clinical instructor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Tip: drink water cold, which your body to use more calories to warm it up.

Chili peppers

Capsaicin is a chemical compound that can kick metabolism into higher gear – and chili peppers contain it. Isaacs suggests adding a tablespoon of chopped chili peppers to a meal once a day. They’re also an unexpected source of vitamin C.

Coffee

A study published in Physiology & Behavior found that the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee was 16% higher than that of those who drank decaf.

Green tea

The brew contains a plant compound called EGCG, which promotes fat-burning, research suggests.

Milk

Studies conducted by Michael Zemel, former director of The Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee, suggest that consuming calcium may help your body metabolize fat more efficiently.

Whole grains

Whole grains help your body burn more fat because they take extra effort to break down than processed grains, like white bread and pasta. Whole foods that are rich in fiber, like brown rice and oatmeal are your best bets.

Lentils

About 20% of women are iron deficient — which is bad news for your waistline since your body can’t work as efficiently to burn calories when it’s missing what it needs to work properly. One cup of lentils provides 35% of your daily iron needs.

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Health and Exercise Benefits of Pokemon Go

Health and Exercise Benefits of Pokemon Go

All over the country, people are suddenly exercising, going for walks, hikes and (gasp!) breaking out into a sweat. All of this, in search of Pokemon.

For those who are not familiar with this phenomenon, a Google search for Pokemon Go will tell you all you ever (and never) wanted to know but here’s a quick online explanation.

When it comes to reality games, there’s been research and data showing that players can become so involved they lose track of time and even of what’s going on around them. While this can be dangerous, (like the person who crashed his SUV into a cop car while playing Pokemon Go this past week), it can also have fitness benefits.

Health and Exercise Benefits of Pokemon Go

  1. You ‘Forget’ that You Hate to Exercise.  If exercise isn’t really your thing, it helps when you can focus on something besides discomfort and exercise boredom. Instead, you’re excited about an activity that interests you.
  2. Bragging Rights. Participating in a walking challenge with your friends or through your employer? Don’t be surprised if you end up as the “Top Walker” on days that you are out hunting Pokemon.
  3. Social Interaction. Instead of staying inside watching tv, playing on the Xbox, your interest in the game causes you to get go outside, get fresh air and possibly run into others who are also playing Pokemon Go. Short conversations sharing a common interest can occur. You never know: you might make a new friend.
  4. Time Flies, More Steps. When you lose yourself in a reality game, you lose track of time and forget to keep checking how low you’ve been walking or how many steps you’ve taken.
  5. You Burn Calories. You can get so immersed in the game, you don’t notice you’re sweating, tired and more active than normal. More movement = more calories burned. Pokemon Go may seem like “just a fun game” but don’t forget, you can also use it as a fitness tool. If you practice good Pokemon Go safety habits, this can be a great way to get your steps in and be more active while using a Fitbit, Garmin or other activity tracker. If you are involved in a walking program or step challenge, Pokemon Go could be just the inspiration you need to get moving.With countless social media updates about preventing sore feet, tired legs and players burning more calories than normal, it’s easy to see why many people are claiming to walk more than they ever have before.

Want to incorporate Pokemon Go into a walking routine? Walkingspree clients have the option of setting up a Pokemon Go themed walking challenge. If your company isn’t a Walkingspree client yet, visit the Walkingspree website to learn more about how we use wearable tech, mobile apps and more to help employees be more active or share this article with your HR manager.

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