Redesign your kitchen, and eating process, to lose weight


Photo credit: ( Kowal)

Would you like to design a lifestyle that would help you lose weight? Then consider some kitchen tips to lose weight. But don’t worry. This doesn’t mean a massive redesign budget and renovation overall. It just means applying some practical rules on how you display and eat food.

Stopping mindless eating is the premise of a Brian Wansink’s new book, Slim by Design. For nearly 25 years Dr. Wansink has observed and analyzed the behaviours and choices of skinny and fat people. He sums up his conclusions in one sentence (found on pg 6 of his book): “Becoming slim by design works better than trying to become slim by willpower.”

Because I’d originally heard Dr. Wansink on CBC Radio One The Current, I was struck at how simple his suggestions were for the every day homeowner.

For instance:

-He suggests you take the “handful of changes approach.” Start with your home, then move on to restaurants, then grocery stores, workplace and finally your children’s schools.

-At home: concentrate on getting unhealthy snacks off the counter and putting healthy options front and centre.  An easy solution is to buy a fruit basket and display your produce on your counter. This way your visual reminder is to eat fruit, not those high-glucose snacks such as granola bars or fruit chewies.

-Put the less healthy snack choices, such as cereal, granola bars or cookies, in cupboards. Even better, but them in opaque containers. According to Wansink’s research, home’s with chocolate left on the counter had homeowner’s who were, on average 3 lbs heavier; homes with cereal in plain view (on counters or in clear containers) had homeowner’s who were 10 lbs heavier; and homes with fruit baskets had homeowner’s who were 10 lbs lighter.

-Use smaller plates when eating. According to Dr. Wansink, cutting the size of your plate by 2-inches results in a 22% reduction in the amount of calories you consume.

-Plate your food before you sit down, don’t use a buffet-style approach at the table. Simply removing the “second helping” temptation from view prompts a 20% reduction in food intake.

-Consider putting away leftovers before you sit down to eat. This is an additional step in the battle to reduce the amount you eat. By adding extra steps in the “getting a second helping process” you’re likely to think twice before going for another piece.

-One of the major reasons for cutting back on how much we eat is due to how much our diet has changed over the last few decades. Dr. Wansink analyzed various generations of cookbooks including the iconic Joy of Cooking. According to their analysis our great-grandparents ate 42% less calories we did. This increase in calories is not due to a change in the foods we eat, but to portion sizes and to massive increase in the use of fats and simple carbohydrates (sugars) in our cooking.

by Romana King
January 16th, 2015