Weight Management

Critical Thinking

So, I attended a webinar last week: Can consumers think critically about weight management: Insights from behavioral science. This was sponsored by the Weight Management Practice Group affiliated with my professional organization the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The speaker was Jason Riis, PhD who has been on the faculty at Harvard and currently serves at Wharton in the area of marketing and consumer behavior; Dr. Riis opened with some work done by two Nobel Prize winners – unquestionable bona fides.

Because the topic was so “meaty” I want to give this a couple Minutes.

Why do consumers make poor food, diet and nutrition decisions?

The first premise is: “People are not ‘naturally good’ at critical thinking”.

Early survival depended upon quick decisions. Is that lion going to attack me? It would be ill advised to think about the time of day the lion last ate, look around for cubs, consider what other food choices the lion could make. Deciding to protect oneself is innate and the decision made immediately.

So, quick decisions are a natural bias. Trading our lion for the candy bar at the grocery check out lane, browsing the sundae pictures while ordering from the car at DQ or adding on to a meal at a restaurant because the waitstaff suggests it. You’ll make those decisions without pondering the consequences of other options.

How can we use this information?

  • clear the “junk” food from your kitchen counters
  • add a bowl of fruit on the counter
  • add already prepared fruits/veggies front and center in the fridge
  • don’t bring temptations into your house or store them in a hidden locale
  • decide what you’re going to eat at a restaurant without looking at the menu

There’s hardly another issue where that quick decision gratifies instantly so I can certainly understand our lack of critical thinking while in front of the bakery case!

Prepare your environment to be well,


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Dieting Math

Just finished reading an article suggesting 90/10 eating for weight loss. Ninety percent of the time you adhere to a “diet” and the other 10% you eat what you want. Last year, I think it was 80/20 and the year before that was 5:2. As in days.

I hope it’s not just my advancing age but more of my wisdom when I say, “Those are BAD PLANS!”

They all reinforce going “on a diet” and then “cheating.” Restriction and deprivation and then overeating or splurging.

And, please, how are you going to do the 90/10 calculation? Are you going to eat 9 healthy foods and one that’s not? Are you going to count up to 90 healthy calories and 10 not-so-good for you?

How long are you going to stay on a diet? What’s the general success rate of weight loss diets? What happens after you lose the weight?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to consider what you routinely eat and like? And then take a single step: reduce portions. A calorie deficit is what it takes to lose weight. Wouldn’t changing a double cheeseburger to a single cheeseburger leave you satisfied and not feeling like you’re on a diet?

With a plan to downsize your portions, weight loss can be accomplished fairly painlessly. Of course a second step would be nice. How can you modify the foods that you like so that they’re healthier? But, why not take a sane first step?

Move to a smaller dinner plate. Portion BEFORE you cook. Avoid eating directly from a package or container.

Slow down your eating rate so you can enjoy what you’re eating 100% of the time to be well.





Permanent link to this article: http://marciacrawford.net/archives/dieting-math

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