The worldwide epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes are growing at an alarming rate, so I want to focus on a simple study in the Obesity Journal of Research about a “low-hanging-fruit” behavior that anyone can implement to lose weight. Choosing to eat in a mindful way will ultimately cut down on the amount the food that we consume.
First things first! If you are reading this blog along with eating a meal or a snack, STOP!
Do you see how easy it is to apply this “low-hanging fruit” behavior? Ha!
Put your fork down and read this blog.
For the study, 55 adults (76% women with an average age of 26) were free-living versus being studied in a metabolic ward. All were thoroughly taught how to track and monitor their food intake prior to entry in the study. In addition, they were instructed to record meal timing, whether any media device (i.e., watching television, playing video games or spending time on a computer or smartphone) was used at mealtime and the type of media used.
At the close of each of the three days, the participants’ records were assessed and, more importantly, run through a rigorous Machine Learning tool called Automated Multiple Pass Method (AMPM). The AMPM has been shown to be more accurate than the double-labeled water method, which was previously considered the “gold standard” of assessing calorie and nutrient intake.
25% of media was used during participants’ main meals versus only 5% with snacks, and meals eaten during media use had 149 more calories than meals eaten without media use.
The findings might seem obvious but it’s a piece of the obesity puzzle. Let’s look at a hypothetical situation:
You are trying to lose 5 lbs.
If you turn off all media devices during two main meals a day, within 62 days that blob of fat is no longer on your body.
Try your own scientific experiment. What do you have to lose except 5 lbs. of fat?!
Add to your scientific experiment by speaking Hara Hachi Bu before your meal. This is what Okinawans speak before each meal to help remind them to be mindful and eat until they are 80% full.