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How to Avoid Mindless Eating

Get snacks out of sight!

A study involving deskbound secretaries and sweets proved the more hassle it is to eat, the less we eat. In the study, each secretary was given a dish of sweets that was rotated among three locations. During the first week the sweet dish was placed on the corner of her desk. The next week it was in the drawer. And the last week the sweets were on a filing cabinet 100m from her desk.

The secretaries ate, on average, nine sweets a day when they were on the desk looking her in the face (if done everyday for a year this would be a weight gain of about 13.5kg!). If she had to open the desk, she ate six a day. If she had to get up and walk six feet to get the sweet, only four.

The basic principle is convenience, but there's something else going on that may be of equal or greater importance. Distancing the sweets from themselves gave them enough time to think twice whether they really wanted it. In other words, mindless eating became more conscious.

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