In the Family and Dining Areas
Stop Eating in Front of the TV
Sacking out on the couch for dinner and a movie may feel cozy, but it can pack on the pounds. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who ate in front of the TV consumed more and were more likely to describe their meals as unsatisfying. In a study published in the journal Appetite, women who had lunch while watching television ate more cookies afterward than did those who hadn’t eaten in front of the TV. They also remembered their lunch less vividly. Researchers believe that watching TV while we eat may interfere with our ability to encode our memory of the meal and leave us more likely to munch later.
If you tend to snack during your favorite shows, change your routine by changing the setting: Watch in the bedroom instead. (That said, sleep and sex experts don’t love bedroom TVs, so make sure you’re not trading one problem for another.)
“A cluttered, disorganized space is not conducive to good decisions,” says Peter Walsh, a professional organizer and the author of Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? ($14, amazon.com). “Ask yourself, ‘What do I want from this room?’ ” If you want your dining table to be a place where the family gathers for healthy meals, then it needs to be neat and inviting, not buried in bills and homework.
Keep the Setting Mellow
Studies have found that fast, loud music makes people eat more. A review from the University of Oxford in the journal Physiology & Behavior explains that noise may make it difficult to focus on the sensory experience of eating, which is essential to feeling satiated. Wansink has also found that brightly lit places inspire faster eating.