The most popular New Year’s resolution each and every year is to lose weight. Don’t deny it. You’ve been there, and if you’re still going through the virtually pointless exercise of creating New Year’s resolutions, LOSE A FEW POUNDS has probably been at the top of your list, too.
As we all know, there are only two ways to lose weight; either consume fewer calories or burn more – plain and simple.
And consuming less is NEVER easy. One of the biggest problems we face when dieting is that it seems the world is working against us. Let’s take a look at a few specific examples that clearly demonstrate how restaurants, movie theaters, even grocery stores manipulate us.
Movie Popcorn – Even though it’s the worst tasting, most unhealthy popcorn you could possibly eat, for many people, it’s still an important part of the movie-going experience. As you might expect, research has proven that popcorn consumption at the movies has almost nothing to do with hunger.
We enjoy movie popcorn because it gives us something to do as we’re watching the show. And, in a somewhat bizarre twist, researchers have discovered that the amount of popcorn you’ll eat has more to do with the size of the bag, box, or bucket in which your popcorn is served than how hungry you are. The larger the container, the more you’ll eat… even if you think the popcorn tastes only marginally better than Styrofoam™.
Serving Sizes – Just as the theaters now serve popcorn in 2-gallon buckets, restaurants have decided that the average human is now capable of consuming several thousand calories at each meal. Fast food restaurants make no bones about it with their Super-Size options, giant drinks, and Combos (for the budget-conscious, of course.)
It’s Fun and Cool – Hey, who doesn’t love to get together with friends and family and enjoy a big meal. Not every American remembers to give thanks at Thanksgiving, but very few will miss this opportunity to consume vast quantities of turkey, ham, dressing with gravy, sweet potato casserole, and green bean salad.
A little earlier today as I was watching TV, I marveled at some of the ads as I realized that we even make up new words about eating. KFC just introduced Couchgating. Now, how clever is that?
Subway is talking about deliciosity. And the Snickers candy bar has an entire ad campaign devoted to creating new words to print on their wrappers.
The advice from today’s lesson isn’t really about dieting. It’s about becoming more aware of the influences, the little nudges, that affect our decisions and behaviors. And don’t kid yourself, you ARE swayed by these invisible forces. Some of them are right in your face, “You want fries with your order?” while others are much more subtle.
Dieters aren’t even safe in the grocery store. We all know not to go grocery shopping when hungry, but the psychology used on shoppers in a grocery store is incredible. Ever buy soup and wonder why it’s not organized alphabetically?
Oh, it’s organized alright. It’s “organized” randomly, so you’ll be forced to look at a lot of labels before you find the one you want. And more than likely, you’re going to add a few cans of tomato soup and maybe a few cans of cream of mushroom to your shopping cart, too. Soup companies know how to sell more soup.
If you’ve recently been manipulated and you know it, please share your experience with us.