Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How Do You Know When You Have to Stop Eating?

So how do you know when you have to stop eating? Let me put it in another form: How do you choose how much food you eat?

The answer is not easy as you think. People eat not only when they are hungry as the decision or the act to eat is affected by emotions as well. You tend to binge when you're depressed or totally starve yourself during those bad days.

Nope, you don't stop when you're full, especially when you are tempted to try all the different dishes at a high-class buffet hotel or restaurant. So think about it: when can you really say that you have to stop eating in spite of seeing a bag of potato chips, marshmallows and M&M's luring you to eat like there's no tomorrow?

In this post, we will decipher some of the factors that interpose with our eating habits.

1. Food Descriptions

Often when you browse through the menu, you won't immediately know the taste of the food but you still order ones with attractive descriptions that you feel would suit your taste. Food labels matter a lot as they capture your imagination. If there are two bowls of soup which resemble each other appearance-wise and taste-wise, the next thing that will break the tie is the description. If Restaurant A would name it "Oh-so Soup-ah Creamy Spinach Puree" and Restaurant B would name it "Cream of Spinach Soup Puree," you would most likely go for the first and try to finish it up to the last spoonful.

2. Food Packaging Size

You might not be aware of it but the size of the food package manipulates your eating habits. Finishing a big bag of nuts alone would probably drive you nuts and you will have to stop eating and share it to someone else when you think you have enough (like a third or half of it). To draw a distinction, finishing smaller packages of the same item will make you feel less guilty, even if you have eaten the same amount. Yes?

3. Plate Presentation / Dishware

Eat-all-you-can restaurants which provide diners with bigger plates might not have known the psychology behind eating based on food presentation. I have observed time and again that food easily runs out in the warmers when customers in the buffet use big plates instead of smaller ones. When you have a big plate, you will tend to place more food without considering if you can really finish them all afterwards. The idea becomes "take-all-you-can" but it should not be, if your goal is to eat more healthily.

The same way goes for glasses. Short and wide glasses often are poured with more contents than long and narrow ones. But people do drink up short and wide glasses easily, thinking that they have drunk less. Haven't you noticed?

4. Price of the Food

In most cases, people think they have to get their food be worth to the last cent. But just because the food is pricey does not mean you have to bloat yourself and finish everything you have ordered in one seating. If you can't take it anymore, there's always an option to pack the leftovers home.