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Is Your Home filled with Eating Traps?

By Lynette Summerill HERWriter
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Losing weight can often be a battle of willpower. If willpower seems to be your stumbling block, try some simple changes in your surroundings that result in healthier eating habits to lose weight naturally.

"Our homes are filled with hidden eating traps," said Brian Wansink, PhD, a consumer food psychologist at Cornell University, who presented his findings and strategies for a healthier lifestyle at the American Psychological Association’s 119th Annual Convention, held Aug 5, 2011 in Washington DC.

Wansink identified several myths about eating behaviors as a way to explain why Americans, on average, have been getting fatter. This extra weight is increasing our risk of serious chronic illnesses, including certain cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Could it be that we are just eating mindlessly, or is it that we “trained” to simply want the "best value" for our money?

In either case, America is the land of “super-sized” meal and snack portions, and the long held mantra of “waste not, want not” and our waist and hip-size is proof.

Wansink says "Most of us have too much chaos going on in our lives to consciously focus on every bite we eat, and then ask ourselves if we're full. The secret is to change your environment so it works for you rather than against you."

Something as simple as the size of a bowl can influence how much an informed person eats, he says.

Believe it or not, several studies show exactly that, including Wansink's study of 168 moviegoers who ate either fresh or stale popcorn from different size containers. In the study, People with extra-large containers ate 45 percent more fresh popcorn than people with large containers. People who were eating stale popcorn ate 34 percent more from the extra-large buckets than people eating fresh popcorn from smaller buckets.

They just don't realize they're doing it," said Wansink. This strategy applies to what we drink too. His research found that people pour about 37 percent more liquid in short, wide glasses than in tall, skinny ones of the same volume.

Even a kid's cereal bowl can be a trap, according to Wansink.

Add a Comment4 Comments


As a stay at home mom, I have a no snacking policy for myself. I don't eat between meals. It was how my grandparents grew up and it is helping me maintain my weight loss and lose more.

January 13, 2012 - 4:53pm

I struggle with having eating traps in my house. I know I'm not supposed to have wheat or dairy products in my diet. My brother shops and buys a lot of carbohydrate foods high levels of wheat in them. He knows nothing about healthy or balanced eating. I struggle with Bulimia so often I crave sugar most of the stuff that has sugar in it has wheat in it also.
I'm trying to come up with healthy plan to avoid these foods.

December 14, 2011 - 1:42pm

A couple of other good tips is investing in a cheap kitchen scale and measure your food portions and to buy single serving snacks instead of big bags of chips and candy so you can still have an occasional treat but it's already measured out and when the bag is empty you are done.

August 15, 2011 - 7:47pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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