The clock hits noon—that means its lunchtime. My co-worker brought cookies to work—I might as well eat one (or three). That chips ad on television looks so tempting—I'll go into the kitchen and grab a handful. I'm meeting friends at my favorite restaurant for dinner—I better order something yummy.
These are just some examples of eating in response to external cues. It is estimated that the average American makes over 200 food choices each day, according to research by Brian Wansink and his research team at Cornell University. Most of these decisions are based on your surrounding environment and are made without much thought. Things like plate size, lighting, packaging, who we are with, and what we are doing all influence what and how much we eat. Often we become overwhelmed with the various signals around us telling us to eat and we lose sight of the internal cues (hunger, satiation, and fullness) that our bodies provide. This may result in overeating and weight gain. Mindful eating can help break this cycle. Next time you find yourself mindlessly reaching for that cold slice of pizza in your office break room, try these tips to see what it is that your body truly wants.