• All posts,  Well-being

    Mindful eating helps your brain control appetite

    As a psychologist, I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but I still am. I remember drawing hugely complex diagrams of the nervous system for my masters degree, showing all the nerves going into and out of the brain, making contact with virtually every organ and system of the body. I know, intellectually speaking, that the nervous system, and thereby the brain, is hugely influential in everything the body does, but I still can’t help it. I just figure if you were inventing a machine that needs fuel, you’d have a fairly simple fuel gauge — a little meter that says “stomach full, well done”. Nope. I’ve written in other posts about…

  • All posts,  Well-being

    Three signals that you’ve eaten enough

    You may not have spent much time thinking about what it means to have had enough food. It’s obvious, isn’t it? You stop when you’re full. If someone asks, “how do you know when you’re full?” you might respond that it’s just like asking, “how do you know you have a pain in your knee?” The answer is, “you just do.” Of course there are different types of knee pain. Sharp and stabbing, dull and aching, and so on. In just this way there are different types of “feeling full” (though I prefer the phrase “had enough” to “full” and you’ll see why later). If we pay attention to these…

  • All posts,  Well-being

    Full on water — re-learning what your stomach feels like when it’s full

    Portion sizes have increased hugely over the last forty years. Lisa Young and Marion Nestle published a great study in American Journal of Public Health in 2002 showing that cookies were twice the size they had been thirty years prior, and that a portion of pasta now had roughly twice the number of calories compared to its 1970’s counterpart. Some things hadn’t changed much, but overall, food manufacturers are clearly trying to get us to eat more and more of their products. And why wouldn’t they? They want to make money. There are two responses to this rising pressure to eat more. Marion Nestle is valiantly fighting the good fight and…

  • All posts,  Well-being

    TV makes food taste bland

    Last week I suggested a few simple rules to follow if you want to change your eating habits for good. Key to these rules was the idea of paying attention to what you’re eating. We humans are actually pretty awful at paying attention to what we’re paying attention to. That is, we think we’re paying reasonable attention whilst actually we’re not. You might have seen a video of one of the classic experiments demonstrating how rubbish we humans are at paying attention. Try watching the video below, for instance… In videos like this, people generally only notice the gorilla walking casually across the scene about half the time. We really…