Marcy Carriker Smothers

Mindless Eating

Mindless EatingHow many decisions a day do you make about food?
15, 25, 75, 100?
My Twitter was a flutter last week when I posted that the average person makes over 250 daily decisions about food.
Comments ranged from, “I don’t have time to think that much about food” to “If I thought about food 250 times a day there wouldn’t be time for anything else.”
This isn’t my personal count and I need more than 140 characters to explain it.

This is data compiled from Dr. Brian Wansink, a Stanford Ph.D and Director
of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab.
When I first read this statistic I thought it was improbable; my reaction was similar to my tweeps.
Dr. Wansink clarified if when he was a guest on my show last year.
He explained that making “decisions” about food is different than “thinking” about food:
7:00A – Am I going to have breakfast or skip it? Cereal or eggs? Fried eggs or poached? Toast? Bread or bagel? Butter? Jam? Juice? Water? Make coffee at home or go out?
8:00A – Starbucks or Peets? Latte or mocha? Vente or Grande? Non-fat or regular milk? Is it too hot to drink now?
That’s fifteen decisions in one hour. You can see how that number could easily reach 250 by the end of the day?
Add my day dreaming and reminiscing about food and my number is closer to 500.
The key is mindful, rather than mindless eating.
The more aware we are of the decisions we make the more likely we are to make healthy choices.
I’ve found that the little break in momentum helps me to slow down.
Slowing down means less feeding frenzy, less quantity, and more delight.

You Might Also Like...


  • Reply
    Melly/Melody/or Mel
    April 6, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Wow! Who knew?

    I am going to try to make a check mark everytime I make a decision about food? I do think about food…but making a decision..hmmm.

  • Reply
    April 6, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    When I get stuck in Mindless Eating, I pack on the pounds. Proof is in my food journal. The only times I have successfully lost weight are when I write down what I eat, including the calorie count. I keep myself to a daily calorie goal, and I usually hit it, and rarely go over it. Mindful Eating also makes me choose healthier foods, but allows for the occasional order of french fries. 🙂 I'm down 24 pounds since Jan 4th!

  • Reply
    April 7, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Only 500? 😉 Mindfulness is so important, when I'm not paying attention I'm amazed at how much food I manage to put away.

Leave a Reply