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Is Your Home Making You Fat?
Sun Aug 25 2013 |
It seems that “obesogenic” is a real word meaning “causing obesity,” and it was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary last year. And you can imagine that as a Feng Shui practitioner I was pretty intrigued by the article “Is Your Home Obesogenic” in Real Simple magazine. I had no doubt that a house could affect your weight, especially since I’ve written articles about how to rearrange a house to encourage weight loss. But I wanted to see how the science matched the Feng Shui. Here are their suggestions that pass my Feng Shui checklist:
Dine Off Salad Plates. The average size of a dinner plate has ballooned by 23 percent since 1900, and therefore the amount we put on it has ballooned, too. Cornell researchers suggest that switching from 12-inch to 10-inch plates could help you consume up to 22 percent fewer calories. And I add my Feng Shui suggestion to dine on blue plates, since they make you eat slower.
Rearrange Your Food. “We find that people are three times as likely to take the first thing they see when they open the cupboard than the fifth thing they see,” says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., Director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab. “Hide and eat less” even works with candy, because Wansink’s team observed that people dip into candy bowls 71 percent more frequently when the bowls are transparent than when they are white.
Stock Smarter. The Cornell researchers found that when people put four boxes of crackers on their shelves instead of their usual two, they ate the extra boxes faster than normal, until they were left with the amount they usually have on hand. The simple solution - keep everything you wouldn’t typically go through in a week on a high shelf or in the garage.
Make Your Food Look Dramatic. Serve light foods on dark tableware and dark foods on light. This is basic Feng Shui yin-yang theory. In a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, people served themselves more when their dishes matched the foods they were eating than when they were given contrasting plates. That means since your mashed potatoes are less noticeable on a white plate, you'll pay less attention to how much you're dishing out and eating.
Stop Eating in Front of the TV. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who ate in front of the TV consumed more and were more likely to describe their meals as unsatisfying. And a study in Appetite showed that women who had lunch while watching television ate more cookies than did those who ate at a table.
Declutter. If you want your table to be a place where the family gathers for healthy meals, then it needs to be neat and inviting, not buried in homework and bills. Feng Shui practitioners can't stop saying enough about this one.
Keep the Setting Mellow. Studies have found that fast, loud music makes people eat more. A review in Physiology & Behavior explains that noise makes it difficult to focus on the sensory experience of eating, which is essential to feeling satiated. Wansink has also found that brightly lit places inspire faster eating. Yup, Feng Shui says the same thing.
Clear Off Your Workout Equipment. Don’t use your treadmill as an extra closet, because it you have to spend even a few seconds removing a pile of clothes, you’re less likely to work out. If you exercise at the gym, create storage in your entry for your gym bag so you have a visual cue that your stuff is ready when you are.
Donate Your “Fat” Clothes. Bigger clothes send signals that you don’t expect to keep off any weight that you've lost. And if you’re wearing bigger clothes, you can’t keep tabs on your weight by keeping tabs on your waistband. My additional Feng Shui advice - you want to make room in your closet for new clothes, in smaller sizes, to find you.