According to psychologist Stanley Schachter, people eat on the basis of two distinct signals.
The first signal is what comes from within our bodies. Like after having just consumed a meal, the body, in this case the stomach might send the signal, ‘Okay, I’m full! There is like literally no room in here.’
Receiving this signal, your brain stops you from eating more. In fact eating which was pleasurable a few seconds ago becomes a burden. The same thing happens when your tummy rumbles and you know it’s time to eat. Conceptually speaking, eating when you feel hungry is just like feeling happy because you’re smiling. In both of these cases, you decide how you’re feeling depending upon the signals your body is sending you.
So it goes without saying that your decision to eat could also be triggered from your surroundings. In this case your body isn’t telling you, ‘you’re hungry,’ but you see a tasty looking strawberry cake. Or it could even be that you look at your watch and decide it’s lunch time, so you MUST eat, even though you’re not hungry or you might have just had a healthy breakfast.
In both cases you ignore what your body is telling you, which in this case is, ‘you’re not hungry’. You’re giving power to your surroundings, letting them decide for you.
“But I never let my environment decide for me!” you say. Well you wonderful bundle of free will let me ask you this, why is it that people who associate with smokers become smokers? Why is it that people who associate with people more successful than them become more successful themselves? Why is it you feel happy or sad depending on whether or not you have a date for Valentines? Environment.
Whenever we don’t have enough information(which is almost always), we look around us to make sense of everything. This is the reason why social proof even exists.
Although people follow both sets of signals, Schachter proposed that some people are more likely to listen to their bodies and others, their environment. The ones who listened to their bodies were called internals and those who were influenced by their surroundings externals.
So when living in a society that constantly bombards us with ads and supermarkets full of all that food, externals really are at a disadvantage. Without an Everest of self-control, externals will eat anytime their environment gives them a signal.
But fear not, as you can still lose weight whether an internal or an external.
Whenever you’re about to eat something, ask yourself if you really are hungry. A good rule of thumb is hunger pangs; that stomach doesn’t lie.
Keep unhealthy food out of sight. You don’t see with your eyes you see with your mind. Out of sight is out of mind.
At super markets, stay away from where they keep all that junk food and Hershey’s chocolate syrup. Oh that wonderful chocolate syrup!
Whenever you are eating, your full attention must be on the food. So never eat while watching the teley, listening to music or even while reading.
Slowly chew each mouthful.
Eat in front of the mirror if you’re not happy with your weight.
Switch to chopsticks if using knives and forks and vise versa.
Eat with your non dominant hand.
People who are slim only eat when they have to. Listen to your body, there is a reason it communicates with you. In this case your gut instinct really is telling you something important.
References can be found in the description of the following video.