There is always a lot of talk about diet and exercise when it comes to weight loss. Certain ratios of protein and carbohydrates seem to be important. Whether or not you need to be doing 4, 10, or 20 minute metabolic workouts is currently a much talked about topic.
Last night I started re-reading Tom Venuto’s “The Body Fat Solution” and the introduction got me thinking about the factors that are over looked in most weight loss programs. These overlooked areas (many of which Tom does an excellent job of covering in his book) have nothing to do with protein ratios or workout duration. But they are really the key to success.
As I have said before, losing weight is self isn’t that hard as I’m sure you have lost weight in the past. Keeping the weight you lost off is difficult.
What are the overlooked factors in both the areas of weight loss and weight maintenance that if you were to just pay a little bit of attention to could make all the difference? Over the next couple posts I’d like to explore some of theses with you to better your chances of permanent success and living a strong, fit, and healthy life.
I”m not talking about the feng shui of your dinner plate but factors that drive your eating environment. Researchers have identified 4 key factors in your eating environmental:
- Eating Atmospherics (Lighting, Noise & Music, etc)
- Eating Effort
- Eating with others
- Eating distractions.
For the most part I recommend that you do your best to control what you eat through proper planning and preparation which can take eating atmospheric influences such as “people will eat more in colder rooms and drink more in warmer rooms” (I didn’t make that up) non issues as you just eat what you had planned on eating regardless of the humidity level in the room.
But even with all the best planning in the world you can’t (and wouldn’t want to) eat alone all the time; thus it is important to recognize the under the radar factors that come into play when eating with others. Combine this with the fact that a lot of eating in larger groups occurs at restaurants or parties where the food selection can be less than ideal and it is pretty easy to fall off the wagon – this becomes an important topic.
Now, I don’t have to work very hard to convince you that the presence of other people will influence both what and how much is eaten. I’m sure you’ve had the experience where you were going to order one particular dish but the person you were with orders a different dish and you end up saying something like “oh, I’ll have that to.” People are generally influenced by other people behaviors.
What I find really interesting is that research from Georgia State University shows that people can eat up to 33% more when eating with someone else compared to eating alone and that percentage increases as the size of the group increases.
Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating, has also pointed out that the variance associated with how much is eaten in these group situations becomes smaller as the group get bigger; which basically means that people are more consistent about eating more food as the size of the group they are in gets bigger.
Here are some other stats from Dr. de Castro’s research at Georgie State University. We eat more people close to use compared to just having random people around:
- Spouse – 22% more
- Family – 23% more
- Friend – 14% more
But we eat less around coworkers (16% less).
While some may argue the exact percentages and statistics, go ahead as those don’t matter as much to me. Look at the big picture. Are you unknowingly eating more around certain people? Are you unknowingly making different food choices when you eat with certain people. Just take a couple minutes today to think about this and apply it to your life. Recognizing these situations in your life and making sure that you don’t succumb to under the radar influences will help you live a strong, fit, and healthy life while maintaining the body weight you want.