“Mindless Eating” – Why Do We Continue to Eat When We Are Full?

June 18, 2009

I was doing some research online today and stumbled across a description of a book that made good sense to me: Mindless Eating.

I haven’t ordered the book yet, but I liked the parts that I’ve read so far. Food psychologist, Dr. Brian Wansink examines why we eat more than we should even when full. I’m the sort of person who can eat a full bag of chips, a bowl of candy, and basically anything placed in front of me.

If it isn’t near me I’m good, but if food is within reach for extended periods of time I will eat it all! Dr. Wansink has my eating-style nailed down to a “t”!

Plate of nachos

[If you put this plate of nachos in front of me, I will continue to devour it until the plate is empty! I don’t care how big the plate is. My hand will continue to grab chips on autopilot until nothing is left. “My name is Rusty and yes, I am a mindless eater”. The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem.]

Having Symptoms of Mindless Eating Without Realizing It

I am a full-blown mindless eater, no doubt about it! It is dangerous for me to go to restaurants that serve big portions. I have to finish the plate.

There is something deep inside me that won’t let me leave food on a plate. You may or may not be a hardcore mindless eater like me, but most people exhibit mindless eating behaviors without knowing it.

Dr. Wansink conducted a bunch of interesting studies showing just how common this problem is.

The Mindless Eating – Stale Popcorn Study

Two groups of theater patrons were given free containers of stale popcorn. One group was given a large container and one group was given an extra-large container (both too big too consume).

Each group’s containers were collected after the movie and they were told this: “Some people tonight were given medium-size buckets of popcorn, and others, like yourself, were given these large-size buckets.

We have found that the average person who is given a large-size container eats more than if they are given a medium-size container. Do you think you ate more because you had the larger size?”

The Group Given the Larger Bucket Ate 53% More Popcorn

When they were told that they most likely ate more due to the fact that the container was larger, most of the people denied that it applied to them…saying “Things like that don’t trick me,” or “I’m pretty good at knowing when I’m full.”

When they weighed the popcorn, they found that those with the largest bucket ate 53% more popcorn. Wansink stated…”Most people eat mindlessly, based on the size of the container and other cuesβ€”not the taste of the popcorn or how hungry or full they are.”

The Mindless Eating – Chocolate Candy Dish Study

Dr. Wansink performed this fun study on desk-bound secretaries and chocolate candy. On week one, he placed the candy dish on the corner of the secretary’s desk. During week 2, the candy dish was placed in the top left-hand desk drawer.

During week 3, he placed the candy dish six feet from the desk. When the candy was on the desk, the secretaries ate 9 pieces on average per day…when in the desk, 6 pieces on average…six feet from the desk, 4 pieces on average.

“The More Hassle It Is to Eat, the Less We Eat”

Dr. Wansink had this to say about the candy dish study “The basic principle is convenience…When we talked to the secretaries after the study, many of them mentioned that having six feet between them and the candy gave them enough time to think twice whether they really wanted it.

It gave them time to talk themselves out of having another chocolate.”

By the Age of 5 We Typically Eat Whatever is In Front of Us

Professor Wansink has observed that a 3 year old will stop eating when they are full, regardless of how much food is placed in front of them.

By the age of 5, however, a child will eat whatever is placed in front of them…”If they are given a lot, they will eat a lot”. Serving size plays a huge role on how much we eat.

Habits Are Harder to Change Than Your Environment

In my opinion it is easier to not have the big portions of food in front of you in the first place.

One of the tips that Dr. Wansink gives is to dish up your plate for dinner and then put the remaining food in the fridge before eating…don’t have the food out so that you can go back for seconds and thirds.

Also, it makes sense to not have high calorie snacks in front of you when you are watching TV or watching a movie.

A Good Restaurant Strategy to Ensure You Eat Less

A couple of days ago, I walked to get pizza and a beer with my girlfriend (a mile away, trying to get my daily walking in).

What we decided to do was order a dinner salad and a small personal pizza and split them both. We had just a little salad and a few slices of pizza and a beer. Going forward, we have decided that at many restaurants we will each order a dinner salad and split one of the main courses.

It is a way to ensure that we don’t eat 2,000 calorie dinners at the places that serve massive portions. Give it a try!

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{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

Hector Cuevas June 18, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Great article… there’s no doubt convenience has made us all fat and lazy, I don’t believe in diets.. changing eating habits and lifestyle is key to any workout program..

..those interested can check out my site for more info..

Irish June 18, 2009 at 3:07 pm

I have the same mentality as you when it comes to eating. I can eat more than any of my friends by far. I will eat until the plate is empty and all the leftovers are gone. I will eat well after the food stops tasting good. I will eat when my mouth is sore from eating and my stomach hurts because I’ve ate so much. I’m a platinum member of the clean plate club. If I wasn’t as vain as I am I would weigh well over 300 pounds. Fortunately my vanity and enjoyment of hard work and challenges pushes me to have a six pack and stay lean/muscular. I wasn’t able to reach the six pack though until I found your website a couple months ago. And I am not genetically blessed I was overweight (Total Fat kid) until I was 18 and finally made fitness important.

Here’s my tips for mindless eaters since I am the worst of worst. These are the things that work for me to allow me to be in good shape.

– Grocery shop for yourself – I have amazing control in the grocery store. I only want to buy super healthy low calorie foods. Fresh organic produce and lean meats. It’s difficult for me to purchase anything that is unhealthy. However, once the food is purchased or if someone else has it I will devour it. If I go and visit my parents I will eat every leftover they have in the fridge, all their frozen foods, all their chips and salsa, everything in the pantry and finish off with a pint of ice cream that my mom always has stocked. I can’t help myself. I love the feeling of gorging myself eating till I feel sick feels good to me.

– Drink a few large glasses of water before you eat your largest meal of the day. It will make you feel full so you’ll eat less.

– Do the Eat stop Eat diet. Also fast before workouts. Knowing eating isn’t an option allows me to focus on things I need to get done and allows me to be lean. If I can’t eat because I’m fasting I wont eat. This is the most important thing I’ve done since finding this site. It gets you cut I went from 12-14% body fat at 195 lbs to 8% and 175 lbs in a couple months. And fasting is easy.

– Allow yourself a couple huge meals a week or a day in the week where you’ll eat whatever you want. I lost those twenty pounds while drinking excessively on weekends and eating pizza and late night taco bell. I’m just very strict throughout the week and love HIIT cardio and weight lifting. The SFP is a great tool as well.

Strategic Eating is the Key.

Anyway, hope these tips help the people who are like myself and love to eat. Rusty, thank you again for your information. I worked my ass off for seven years and was never able to hit my fitness and physique goals. I gave your advice a shot because it made sense and was different from everything else. In two months I got to where I wanted to be and it has been easier to do than what I used to do for exercise and diet.

Rafi Bar-Lev June 18, 2009 at 3:13 pm

I don’t think it’s “mindless” eating as much as “mindful” eating. As kids, we’re taught to feel guilty if we don’t finish off our plates because people in Africa are starving and this stays with us as adults. Also, for those of us who were in the army, you really get into the mentality of eating as much as you can when you can ’cause you don’t know when the next time will be that you’ll get a good meal!

We’re also just aware that food is a valuable thing and justifiably, no one wants to waste or throw out food. You’re probably right that the best answer to this is just to take smaller portions to start, rather than not to finish your plate.

By the way, I wrote an article on my blog about the importance of squats in preventing knee injuries and I thought you might be interested in checking it out since historically you’ve been against squats and if you read it, you might change your mind. πŸ˜›


Michael June 18, 2009 at 3:26 pm

I am not a mindless eater I have to actually make a effort to gain weight. I stopped working out for exams (in the u.k we have important exams at 16) and I am going to start again tonight. How long will it take to get back to my previous muscle definition? I was thinking a week or two because I have little body fat and I read somewhere on this site that muscle memory means that if you lose muscle you can regain it quickly.

james June 18, 2009 at 3:28 pm

I’m with you on this one. I don’t stop eating until everything is gone or put away. I will have to check out that book.

justin June 18, 2009 at 3:35 pm

I am definitely a mindless eater. I also eat too fast. This is a double whammy which virtually guarantees that I will overeat.

drew June 18, 2009 at 3:58 pm

I have the same problem. I used to keep a very well stocked fridge and cupboards with all types of food(good and bad for you) and I would eat a lot and gain a lot of weight. I would eat all night.
But now I found that only shopping for a day or 2 forced myself into a habit of not eating everything because there wasnt anything to eat. And the inconvenience and cost of going to the store every time I was hungry was enough to train my myself not to eat “mindlessly”. I’ve taught myself to eat out of necessity, and not pleasure.

ErinSlick June 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Peeking out from lurkerdom because I’m a mindless eater, too and I”ll also eat out of boredom. So if I’m bored and mindless, I get in double trouble. If it’s in front of me, I’ll eat it — even if I don’t like it.

I’ve taken to reminding myself that I don’t need to eat things that I don’t like. It’s adding some mindfulness to it, but it’s really hard, so I’m loving Irish’s suggestions!

Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later June 18, 2009 at 4:31 pm


I am a mindless eater when I am eating some foods. Others, I am not. I have a feeling we are much better at controlling our consumption of things that would have been available in abundance when we were evolving. I rarely find myself overeating vegetables, eggs, fish and meat. I just lose interest after a while. Pretty much everything else I mindlessly eat. Seems the less likely it would have been our ancestors would have encountered it (e.g. sugar) the more mindless my eating is if I allow myself to eat them. So by keeping them off the menu I avoid the mindless eating (most of the time!)

Andrew June 18, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Yeah, this article also describes me perfectly. Any time there is food in sight I feel like I have to eat it, even if I am not really hungry. It takes all of my will power to try and deny any kind of candy that is sitting out in dishes. Most often I end up giving into temptation. If the food is in my sight I always have this idea that I should just eat it all as fast I can so I don’t have to worry about eating that bad stuff anymore. I could never keep food in my dorm room in college because I constantly knew it was there so I constantly felt like I needed to eat it, too. I am better off just not buying anything or having anything sitting out so that I don’t see it and feel like I should eat it. Another great post Rusty!

Yash June 18, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Oh man, the only thing I could think about when reading that was the study with the popcorn. I was just laughing imagining people sitting in their seats with giant, comically oversized tubs of buttery popcorn in their laps. Sadly, my image of gargantuan tubs of popcorn wasn’t even that far off from what they actually serve in theaters nowadays. Portions sizes are ridiculous nowadays.

greg June 18, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Great Article Rusty! I just stumbled on your site a couple days ago and i think i’ve gone through about 90% of the articles already. Just what i was looking for. I’ve been at a soft 205 pounds for about a year now, mostly because of mindless eating. I just added fasts into my diet this week and am already loving it! Its a great technique for mindless eaters like us to avoid the temptation altogether. πŸ™‚ I’m planning on getting to a lean 190 by the fall, definitely feel like i’m on the right track thanks to you. Keep up the great content Rusty!

Tim June 18, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Rusty Moore is a savior. Plain and simple. Fitness has always been important to me, but I’ve always gone about it the wrong way. As a matter of fact, I would say my methods were the exact opposite of Rusty’s. For the past couple of months, I’ve been employing the methods described on this site. Now, I feel and look better than I have in years. I used to force out reps and do nothing but steady state cardio, and I would always feel run down for hours to come with little to no results. I have a lot more energy outside of the gym now that I happened upon this glorious site. In fact, after the first few weeks of using the techniques described by Rusty, I started noticing some amazing results with my definition. I showed this site to my girlfriend and she loves it. She actually visits the fitness center more often because she is so inspired. I can’t thank you enough, Rusty.

Lately I’ve been doing a Monday, Wednesday, Friday thing:
Monday – 20 min HIIT followed by 4 sets x 5 reps of seated rows, bench press, pull downs, and then incline press.
Wednesday – same as Monday but with reverse flies, seated cable flies, preacher curl, tricep extension, and then seated shoulder press.
Friday – again, same as Monday but with seated rows, bench press, low rows, and then decline press.
I do Rusty’s planks on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Rusty, let me know if I could improve this routine in any way. Also, is it wrong to do the cardio before the weights? Thanks again, Rusty. You’re the best.
P.S. I supremely enjoy your articles on obnoxious gym behavior.

Tim June 18, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Oh yes, and I am a mindless eater as well. Especially with Chinese food.

Kane June 18, 2009 at 7:01 pm

I am definatley a mindless eater! I also eat far too quickly, and I’m making a concious effort to slow down.

I dont know if you remember but i told you a little while ago that I had to move back in with my parents for a few months as my mum got admitted to hospital. Well since I’ve gone back home, the terrible food and snack choices have been terrible. It’s so hard to stay away, and ridiculous hard to stay 100% primal. Okay I admit it, I had a choclate biscuit earlier…

Glad Im not the only one. Ive started measuring portions at dinner now, because I too eat the entire plate, regardless of how full I am.

Thanks for the email


pnw fitness June 18, 2009 at 8:39 pm

“I am and ENDLESS eater. ”

I literally have no stopping mechanism. Even though I know the consequences, I’ll eat until it starts coming back up. If the food is still available and there’s some way to clear the vomit from my sinuses, sometimes I’ll keep going. I just can’t get the food out of my mind. I hate Birthdays and huge BBQs anymore.

I’ve spent this past year focusing almost exclusively on this issue. It helps to prepare EVERY meal from scratch. I’d kept it at bay for about a month until last Sunday.

Dan June 18, 2009 at 9:14 pm


I hear ya man. If the ice cream and other bad stuff is not in my house I am usually all good. However, once that poison enters my home it is almost impossible for me to resist.

I can go to a restaurant, eat my entire meal, and then finish off someone else’s if they can’t eat anymore.

If only I had the appetite of a small bird…


Norbi June 18, 2009 at 10:29 pm


I will have to say yes and no. There are certain things – if there’s a huge plate of something I absolutely love, I’ll want to finish it off, no matter what (talk about grandma’s cooking πŸ˜‰ ). On the other hand, I don’t really have cravings for snacks or sweets. It’s just the way it is – when it comes to snacks, it’s usually either beef jerky or potato chips for me; I just grab a handful, put it back in the cabinet and I’m done. One bag of chips usually lasts me 3-6 days, and then I don’t buy it for another few days. Since I started this new ‘healthy’ lifestyle, I’m having success with determining when to stop eating – but when I feel like letting myself go, that includes letting myself to over eat as well. It should be fine every once in a while anyway..

By the way I’m pretty sure that for a lot of people this whole behaviour is a result of the good old fashioned way of parenting “you can’t get up / have chocolate until you finish the food on your plate”. I guess a year or 2 of this at an early age is enough to burn this in most people’s head.

Heather June 18, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Sometimes I am a mindless eater. And when I do that, I hate myself for being so weak after the fact, lol. I think alot of people tend to do that maybe out of boredom, depression, etc. Our eyes are bigger than our stomaches, lol. But I sure pay the price the next day in the gym cause I tend to torture myself for eating so much.

Studio Element Personal Training June 18, 2009 at 11:11 pm

I believe that there are so numerous reasons of why people overeat. Food is a comfort to people for one thing. Also, food items that are favorites to people tend to be overeaten.

The Fit News June 18, 2009 at 11:16 pm

I wish I was a mindless eater! I can never eat enough..

Greg at Live Fit June 18, 2009 at 11:19 pm

I’ve gotten better about this, but I fell on my face tonight. My wife made a pan of fudge brownies and she gave me a plate of two. Of course I ate them both… Not good.

allie June 19, 2009 at 12:46 am

I am definitely a mindless eater!! What helps a lot is not snacking between meals.

I remember an interview the author of this book once gave an interview in which he said that his major discovery was that people only have 3 “satiety” settings:

1. Starving
2. Stuffed
3. “I could eat.”

πŸ™‚ So true!!

Greeno June 19, 2009 at 2:47 am

how many times do you recall your parents saying to you as a little child ‘finish what’s on your plate’…im sure this has a big correlation to being a mindless eater…

Jason the Chinese Guy June 19, 2009 at 4:00 am


it’s one of those things i do, no matter how much food is given to me, i will just devour it all! i am a beast when it comes to food, i wish i can’t eat as much.. especially when i am under the influence, everything in sight or even food from other people, I EAT AND EAT AND EAT!!

However, recently I’ve been trying to change this habit of mine, the results I have been seeing from the hard work and clean diet has driven me not to eat as much. If I just let loose and eat everything, that will waste all the hard-work I had put fourth to reach this state. Your site always gives me motivation to work for fitness. Thank Rusty.

BurritoKid June 19, 2009 at 4:32 am

i am a definite mindless eater, trying to get better at it. not only that, but i eat really fast too. this allows me to consume a lot of food without getting full. for some reason, i think activities like watching a movie/tv, driving or being on the computer is better with eating.

i also tend to eat right when i get home from somewhere, doesnt matter if i just ate, something about coming home triggers eating.

i usually dont isolate eating on its own and i need to learn to do that.

Yavor June 19, 2009 at 5:25 am

Yeah Rusty – I am like this too. But here is an interesting thing – I tried doing 36hr fasts 1-2 times. (Just forgot/didn’t feel like eating dinner at the end of the fast and it turned into 36 hrs instead of 24hrs).

The interesting thing was NEXT MORNING, I wasn’t mega super duper hungry. I just ate a normal/small breakfast, felt full and that was it.

Seems fasting resets the ‘mindless eating’ urge.

At least for a while.

Good topic buddy!

Burhan June 19, 2009 at 7:02 am


Love your site. I am exactly like you. And have always been mostly chuby/fat/over-weight because of it.
And I agree 100% that this “plate finisher” mindset is instilled into us as kids.

From my personal experience I’ve found out how true the “By the age of 5, …a child will eat whatever is placed in front of them” is; I have two boys, 5 and 3. The younger one stops when he’s “full”, regardless of what’s still in front of him. The older one used to be like him until a few months ago, but would now keep going on.
The sad thing is, that as parents we actually encourage this behaviour, and reward “finishers” with desserts and after-dinner treats. From today, I’ll try and change that; and instead encourage my kids to stop when “full”, and not until everything in front of them is gone!

BTW I would love to know your point of view regarding a 3-times-a-week full-body workout as opposed to your chest/back, shoulders/bi/tri 2-times-a-week split.

Many thanks for all the effort that you regularly put into this website….providing excellent information for free.


Simon June 19, 2009 at 7:04 am

Ha, yeah, I can’t stand popcorn but in the cinema if someone next to me has a tub I’ll start picking until I realise what I’m doing and stop. If food is in front of me I eat it! Irish has some good strategies there.
Too much temptation; super sized portions, ridiculous convenience, cheap food/beer, big problem in today’s society.
In the good ol days, to eat you had to spend the day hunting, killing, gutting, cooking game.
Today, open the refrigerator or just pick up the phone. Evolution tells us to conserve energy where possible, sit on the couch.
No wonder there’s so much obesity!

Mindbodygoal June 19, 2009 at 7:45 am

I vary between mindless and not.

It more relates to how focussed I am and strict with myself.

Convenience has a lot to answer for though I think.

Great post.

Ramon June 19, 2009 at 8:37 am

I’m just like you Rusty. I can’t seem to stop myself. Last week I got together with some friends to watch UFC fights and said to myself on the way over that I won’t eat any of the chips and junk, but once the bags were in front of me I couldn’t stop myself from eating way more than I should have!

Michael - Fat Loss Reviews June 19, 2009 at 8:52 am

Rusty, this is an ongoing battle for me although ESE sessions really help keep me focused and less zombie like when I’m infront of food.

When I go out to restaurants, I usually opt for an appetizer as a way to avoid a carb loaded pasta dish with alfredo sauce. Another trick I employ is swapping the side fries, onion rings, potatoes for a salad.

I like the idea of splitting a salad and an entree with someone and shall try this one the next time.

Laura June 19, 2009 at 9:31 am

This is me to a T!!! If the food is there I will eat it. Generally, I try not to buy things like icecream and chips because I will eat all of them very quickly. If they weren’t there, I wouldn’t even think about wanting them, but since they are I’m going to eat every last bit. Other than that, I try to fast to balance when I go out to eat because I CANNOT eat sensibly at a restaurant most of the time. I’ve tried to change and eat less but more often and it just is not me.

jimmydeeee June 19, 2009 at 9:55 am

I recommend the book. The popular thinking in the the Paleo/Primal/low carb diet blogs seems to be that if you eat real unprocessed food, your appetite will naturally correct and regulate itself. This book is a good reality check that shows that appetite is controlled by a complex combination of factors.

Frank Z. June 19, 2009 at 10:28 am


mindless eater here, such a pain when trying to cut weight for wrestling/boxing. it’s why your recommendation of one large meal a day works otherwise i would have to be around food all day long. last night i ended up eating two chicken breasts when i only meant to eat one till there was nothing left.

Chris June 19, 2009 at 10:29 am

I think one key to avoiding mindless eating is to eat slowly and savor the food. I read that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you are full.

DR June 19, 2009 at 11:48 am

Hey Rusty,

While the premise of the book is solid, it’s only part of the puzzle.

Mindless Eating is a common problem with a variety of potential causes:

The type of food we eat – a diet high in sugar, fat & salt sets off a feedback loop in our brains/bodies that causes us to crave more foods high in sugar, fat & salt

Our thoughts/feelings/emotions – Food is just one of many techniques we use to soothe unpleasant emotions. Others are sex, drugs, booze, violence, etc…. I won’t even go into the links between depression & obesity

Processed foods – In addition to sugar, fat 7 salt, food producers add various substances to food known to increase appetite.

Advertising – marketers spend a ton of money learning how to push our buttons with auditory & visual messages in order to buy

Society – It’s natural to “break bread” with friends & family. Having a strong social network is built into our DNA as a survival mechanism. Eating together is a strong bonding experience. Therefore, if your family eats crap, you’re gonna eat crap.

and it goes on and on and on

BTW, loved your posts lately…great stuff

Fit Jerk - Flawless Fitness June 19, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Look, if you do a kitchen raid and having nothing but kick-a$$ options in your house, mindless eating is NOT a problem.

Mindless eating becomes a problem when you eat mindless food. Simple as that.

It ain’t just your Rusty, everyone does it. It’s human to do it… but we gota trick ourselves.

Josh June 19, 2009 at 1:01 pm

This one describes me to a tee! It also helps to explain the obesity problem in America. When we eat at resturants for example, we are served huge portions sometimes our daily calorie quota is met with drinks and apetizers. Once we get programed into this mindset we feel cheated if we don’t get large portions. For myself out of sight out of mind is the best strategy. If I dont have the Oreos in the house I wont eat them, if they are there consider the box gone!

Muzhik June 19, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Good post – I agree. As a species we still have not [biologically] adjusted to the concept of ‘surplus’, which is a relatively recent phenomenon. The hunter/gatherer in all of us is saying, ‘get it while you can.’

admin June 19, 2009 at 6:21 pm


Yes…I am trying to make getting high calorie food less convenient…mainly by not having it in my apartment.


Yes…I have the ability to eat unbelievable amounts of food. When I was in high school, we used to go to all-you-can-eat pizza and would routinely eat 12-15 pieces of pizza and about 4-5 glasses of root beer. Even though I don’t eat large amounts any more, I feel like it would still be a breeze to take down 10-12 pieces. I like you tip on allowing yourself to get full once or twice per week. I have to do this or I’ll go crazy.


I think my ability to eat is just natural, more than what I was taught. I honestly think I have the physical ability to eat massive amounts of food. I don’t get full easy…even with large portions served at restaurants. I will take a look at your article on squats within the next few days.


You will gain that muscle back quickly. There is truth to muscle memory. You have to make an effort to gain weight? Most of us would love that problem.


I typically eat my plate and all of my girlfriend’s leftovers…she has great self-control when eating and isn’t a mindless eater like me.


Good point. I eat fast as well. It really does help to eat slower.


I have done a similar thing in my apartment, because if it is in the cupboard…there is a good chance I will eat it immediately.


Thanks for commenting! I appreciate it that you have chimed in. If I’m bored I tend to eat more often as well.


You are right! The processed stuff is the most dangerous. If I am at a party with tortilla chips, various dips, cookies, etc…it is rough! That being said, I can still do decent damage on whole “natural” foods.


I too have used the crazy logic of finishing the junk food as quickly as possible, so it won’t be in my apartment anymore. Funny!


They have crazy sizes of popcorn in theaters these days. I typically don’t get popcorn, but will smuggle in Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, or Red Vines. I do like to eat candy every now and then. I know it isn’t great for me…but I love gummy candy!


You will love Intermittent Fasting. It is much easier for a mindless eater to avoid food altogether, then “eat just a little”. This will work well for you and you should easily hit your goal.


Well, thanks for the compliment. I’m not a savior, but I am humbled by your kind comments. Sounds like you and your girlfriend are benefiting from these brief and focused workouts. It sure beats the “burn out” workouts being promoted by so many! Your workout sounds solid, but I find that I get more benefit from doing HIIT after lifting. You will be able to generate stronger contractions if you aren’t catching your breath from HIIT…but if you find that it is working well, keep it rolling. If you get stuck, then maybe reverse the order. As far as obnoxious gym behavior goes…I have found that it is universal in every corner of the world. It is funny how widespread this is! I can eat crazy amounts of Chinese food as well!


Guys almost always eat too fast. I’m not sure why that is. I think it is because we aren’t great at multi-tasking like women and want to finish eating so then we can talk. My dad’s house is full of snacks…I would have a hard time eating well there! Plus he bakes amazing tasting stuff all the time.

pnw fitness,

Sounds a bit like me. How do you do during the family holidays? I don’t even want to think how many calories I eat during a Christmas dinner.


My friends almost never finish their meals at restaurants and know I can eat a lot…they pass the plate to me out of habit. I’m trying to break that habit, but hate seeing food go to waste. Plus it always looks good to me! Sounds like you are the same.


My girlfriend can buy a bag of chips open it have a few, then a few ever other day. Typically, they go stale before she finishes the bag. I try to stop, once the bag is half full and usually finish the rest within a day or two. I try to keep that stuff out of my apartment when possible.


I do the same thing. I will workout harder the next few days if I slip a bit. I will also kick butt in the gym if I know that I’m going to consume a lot of calories later in the day or the following day. There is a beer-fest in Seattle tomorrow, so I did do an extra-intense HIIT workout today followed by 20 minutes steady state cardio.

Studio Element,

Overeating is so easy these days. Food is everywhere you turn.

The Fit News,

Another person I’m jealous of. What a great problem to have!


I love brownies. Especially the dense dark chocolate type that are moist. Take a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream, put a hot brownie on top, and a bit of whip cream. That is a good dessert! Now I’m getting hungry.


I have to avoid all types of snacking. I feel like a vampire who gets a taste of blood and can’t stop. Give me a taste of food…and I get “the hunger”.


I was always good at finishing my plate, unless it was macaroni and cheese…then they would make me eat that. For some reason I am one of the few people on the planet who can’t stand macaroni and cheese. I like almost everything else…so that makes up for it.


Sorry I haven’t been able to respond to your previous questions on other posts. I will certainly get to them soon…just lack of time (constantly playing “catch up”). I appreciate the comments…welcome to the site. Anyway, I am like you and never understood people who could only eat 1/2 of their main course at a restaurant. I can eat mine and theirs…yet they can only eat 1/3 to 1/2 of their plate. People have way different capacities when it comes to eating. I wanted to do this post to let people know that you can still get in great shape, even if you are a hardcore mindless eater.


Sounds like you are a multi-tasking eater as well. I will have sports playing on my TV, while I’m working online on my site, and munching on food…all at the same time. Just like you…I like to “wind down” with 30-60 minutes of TV and a bit of food when coming home from being out somewhere. A habit I’m trying to change as well.


Fasting helps me in this way too. Once you get past a certain amount of time, the fasting becomes really easy. If I don’t eat for 6 hours, I tend to eat a lot…but if I go 24-30 without food, I don’t feel like eating as much. Kind of a weird principle.


I think parents should allow their kids to stop when they are full. Obviously they need to insure a certain amount is eaten, but kids shouldn’t be pushed hard to eat more than what they crave. Good job on adjusting. That is funny that you get to test out what Dr Wansink said about 3 and 5 years olds. You find it to be true…very cool. The 3 times per week full body workout is fine…especially if your goal is to just lose fat and get lean. If you want to gain strength their are some advantages of splitting the body over two workouts, but even then…it isn’t completely necessary. There are so many paths to reach the same goal. A lot of what you do will depend upon personal circumstances and personal preference. It should work well for you.


Like you mentioned..there are cheap food choices all over the place. What sucks is the cheapest stuff is typically the worst for us.


I have great discipline in that I typically won’t snack and I can go long periods without eating high-calorie foods. My biggest problem is if I begin to snack on something. I know my weakness, so typically I won’t even take a bit of something when I’m dieting hard. If I begin, then it is “game over”.


I have consumed large amounts of chips and dip with beer at every Pay-Per-View UFC fight that I’ve seen. They go very well together! Luckily these are on only 1-2 a month at most. A good way to eat a little less is to have a big Fuji apple and 2-3 large glasses of water before watching the fight. The pectin in the apple expands when you drink the water and makes you feel full.


Me and my girlfriend will opt for appetizers a lot of times instead of the main courses. It is a way to eat less calories and saves money.


I think some of this might be instinctual as well. Maybe we eat until we are stuffed, because our ancestors didn’t have access to a constant supply of food. What I have noticed about mindless eaters, is that they have an easier time fasting. Just an interesting observation I’ve made.


I think the plaeo/primal guys are on to something when it comes to eating foods that tend to satisfy a bit more than high carb meals, but you are right. I like to combine principles of several different ways of thinking for best results.

Frank Z,

The good thing is that 1 extra chicken breast isn’t going to throw your daily calories out-of-whack. Wrestlers and boxers have it tough. Dieting down to drop a lot of weight quickly has to be tougher than some of the fights.


I went to a happy hour with my girfriend two weeks ago and they served a slice of pizza and a beer for $5. I purposely chewed each bite twice as long as normal…and placed the pizza down on the plate after each bite. After I swallowed the pizza, I would take a small swig of beer. I only wound up eating one piece of pizza and had two beers. I felt satisfied…which is saying a lot coming from a guy who used to eat over a dozen pieces back in high school.


Thanks for the compliment. I like how your site is coming along as well. Very good posts and entertaining pictures. Good point about advertisers finding ways to trigger us to eat more. I never really thought of that. True about salty and sweet foods as well. When I’m eating really bad, I actually enjoy alternating between the two. It can be tough to say “no” at times!

Fit Jerk,

That is a great point. I do well in keeping the stuff out of my apartment. Luckily my girlfriend enjoys organic whole foods as well. This makes a big diference.


When I was younger I used to get pissed if the restaurant didn’t serve big portions. I think 1/2 of the time I judged the quality of the restaurant on the serving size. These days, I strive for places that serve smaller portions of REALLY good food. So true about calories at some of these places. I know of a Mexican restaurant that I eat at must serve 5,000 calorie dishes (if you include chips and a drink).


That makes a lot of sense to me. That it really is instinct kicking in. Great point.

Quite a bit of comments already. Keep them coming!


Flag Gal June 19, 2009 at 8:29 pm

I’ve read the book and it helped me adjust how I eat when I’m at home. It sounds silly, but I serve my meals on a salad plate. The smaller plate is nice and full of food and it satisfies me.

The only times I eat a lot is when I eat out, because, you guessed it, the food is in front of me and I have a hard time stopping. The author covers lots of interesting information about how we fight these battles — and often fail — over food every day.

M0L June 19, 2009 at 9:33 pm

nice post Mr Rusty..I saw an study once, that they had a plate of soup that refilled itself with a tube it had underneath, and the ppl that were eating, were asked: aren’t u full?..’cause u’ve been eating for quite some time now.. and they responded don’t u see I’m not even half way down πŸ™ ** that the plate was not empty yet**…ohh I laughed so hard…’cause they didn’t know about the plate’s instant refill…hilarious.. πŸ˜€
this week I managed to do 3 crazy 8 circuits mon-wed-fri and 2 HIIT intervals for 15 mins on tues-thurs…awesome week!
PS..one question..are HIIT & crazy 8 exercises going to enlarge the size of my thighs? :/ ’cause I want to slim them down actually..

Deanna June 20, 2009 at 9:33 am

I am definitely a mindless eater! When I’m out with my friends and food is in front of me, I’ll eat all of it, especially if it involves chocolate chip cookies. I also agree with Methuselah, the worse it is for me, the more likely I am to eat it. I tried keeping just a small amount of bad food in the house thinking that moderation was the key, but I found I just ate all of it anyway! Now I just don’t buy it if I’ll eat it. And even then sometimes the corner store that is only a 5 minute walk away is just too tempting…


Helder June 20, 2009 at 9:45 am

I was only a mindless eater for a short period, some months i spent bulking up and screwing my health and body shape, Thank God it didn’t last long, and i came back to my senses.

From time to time, i have, and i believe we all have, one day when we just feel like eating, we never seem to stop feeling hungry, but it happens once every “X” months

Like you said it has a lot to do with eating education, since i was a child i was always use to healthy eating, i also started to practice sports in my early teen years, so i’ve kept associating healthy eating with sports, and today i still keep eating healthy, but like we talk about here many times, no fundamentalism about healthy eating, it’s good to sometimes taste nice foods, and desserts that are not so healthy, but they taste good and Life is to be enjoyed

Norbi June 20, 2009 at 4:34 pm


well, I’m a kind of in between you and your girlfriend. I don’t eat half a bag right away, but they don’t go stale either. πŸ™‚ I forgot one more thing that I’m actually having hard time to stop with, it can be bought in Food 4 Less, Western Trail Mix – Fiesta seasoning, it’s like nuts and crackers mixed in one bag in an amazing seasoning; now THAT goes fast. πŸ™‚

Yash June 20, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Its really interesting how easily satiated you can be after a fast, when you would expect you would want to eat so much more. It would be really cool to study that. I have two theories, one stupid and one logical. The more dumbed down theory is that your stomach spends so much time empty that it’s smaller and you are satisfied with less because your smaller stomach is technically “full”. This sounds dumb but the only reason I say it is because sometimes after working out fasted, I can’t eat too much or else my stomach actually feels like it will burst.

The other, probably more logical explanation, is the hormones and signals your digestive tract sends to your brain when you’re full [eg, leptin]. When you eat regularly, it probably takes more of these signals for your brain to realize you’re full. After a fast, when these signals are at a very low baseline, it takes a much smaller amount to trigger the full response.

joey June 21, 2009 at 7:56 am

ironman athletes and tri-athletes go by this, too. they have such a tight schedule of training and preparation, that one bar of chocolate can screw them up. so they simply have no food at home at all. if they want sth to eat, they have to roll out and buy it.
i go by this rule, too. it’s tough from time to time and it can weird out friends coming over if you have nothing to offer, but it keeps me lean. because…….. i’m the king of mindless eating. if that was part of the olympics i wouldn’t be able to lift my head anymore because of all the medals pulling it down.


sangita June 21, 2009 at 11:28 am

This really could be one of your most important posts Rusty! The good ol’ US of A is an affluent country yes?! And this reflects in the eating. I remember when I was young – in school we did’nt have so many choices and so many varieties of fast food. (Yup I have that scarcity to thank for my good health now.) I now now walk down the many malls that have sprung up in the recent times and am constantly amazed at the mind boggling variety of junk available! I personally think 2 minute noodles are one of the worst inventions of modern times! Along with soft drinks (or what you call sodas). Americanisation is everywhere.
Also a life time of being weight conscious and trying to controll my weight has finally led me to a place where I can pretty much resist a lot of tempatations! I know that the temptation is so temporary! Really all it takes is a few moments for the urge to pass. And you dont have sweat the rest of the week regretting and working off the calories. And yes! Thank god for Brad Pilon!

sangita June 21, 2009 at 11:29 am

And of course thank god for sweet sensible you!!

Brandon June 21, 2009 at 3:10 pm

I just ate a box of mini wheats with some blueberries and 2 bowls of honey nut cheerios. Im glad I just read this article..little too late..

Laura June 21, 2009 at 3:53 pm

Hi Rusty – I’m not sure if this is an inappropriate place to ask this but I couldn’t find any contact info for you!
Anyways, your site has totally reinvented my fitness and body goals. I have been doing olympic weightlifting/bodybuilding/powerlifting routines for 2 years along with the whole “protein obsessed + calories to grow!” diet and result is… BULK. I’m not sure where I was going with this kind of training but I certainly don’t have the look I was going for. That being said, I look a lot better than being skinny fat with absolutely zero definition. I now have some definition, but no where in proportion to the bulkiness that the fat has added.

Anyways, I’m looking to get more into training for functionality and health rather than weird distorted aesthetics. I’m 5’8″ and 155lbs right now – with quite a bit of muscle and a small padding of fat all over (yes, it’s a little bit of a nightmare but not devastating).

My main goal right now should be fat loss pure and simple. My question to you is what kind of DIET do you suggest for healthy fat loss while retaining muscle? (not looking to get back to “skinny fat”. “fit” and “toned” yet curvy is my ideal).

As for training, I’m looking to incorporate a lot more conditioning into my routine and become much more of an athlete; with a rowing focus (i’ve competed before and plan on trying out for the college team again this fall). What do you think of this rough plan?

Monday: Weights (Supersetting with little rest – Squats+ Pullups, Romanian deadlifts + incline press)

Tuesday:Rowing Endurance

Wednesday: Rowing Sprints

Thursday: Bodyweight Circuit + Rowing technique

Friday: Running Sprints (.5 mile warm up, 200m x 2, 150m x 2, 100m x 2)

Saturday: Bodyweight Circuit + skipping

Sunday: Rest

How does this look? Sorry it’s so long.

NancyJ June 21, 2009 at 5:55 pm


It sounds like we all have the same “mindless eating” SNACKING HABITS!

But here are a couple of “snacking” suggestions that have always worked for me: (when I am being *good* that is!):

I wash and peel several carrots and several celery stalks and cut them up into fairly small pieces and store them in the fridge. Then, every day, I take several cups worth and put them in a plastic bag and take them to work with me. Sometimes I eat the whole thing as “lunch” and other times I split it up and use it as “snacks”. Now, true, this stuff is not as delicious as chocolate, but after 1 or 2 days, you can actually retrain your palate to like this stuff. It is low in calories. Mind you, though, carrots have carbs, so if you are worried, don’t eat too many but if you are more or lett counting calories, this helps stave off the hunger…as long as you are drinking your 8+ glasses of water per day.


Here is another suggestion…which is even better!

Take several heads of cauliflower, broccoli, some mushrooms, and (if you aren’t strictly watching carbs, you can in clude some cherry tomatoes, sweet vidalia onion slices and peppers, etc) and steam the whole lot. It may take several batched to steam all of this, eve in a big steamer, but do it.

Then put all the steamed vegetables into a huge bowl, cover and store in the fridge. Then if you get the munchies, take a cup or so of these veggies – cut up in small pieces …and even COLD…they are delicious…you can add a little soy sauce (lo sodium) and a little lo-fat of fat free “parmesan cheese” for seasoning…and /or any other spices you like…like a little garlic salt or other herbs…it is a very, very tasty and filling snack! You can even eat them with a toothpick…takes longer to eat that way and feels like a finger food snack. Quite often, I use chopsticks…they are fun and even though I am quite adept at using them, the somewhat slow down the process and keep my individual portions “small” and I get full faster, I think.

After a few days of using these things as snacks, you will find that (1) you don’t overeat these foods, even if you enjoy them and (2) you actually start to prefer them to the “junk food” after a while.

Every time I fall off the wagon, I get right back up and go to these snack tricks and they always save me.

Remember – Fruit is “good” for you, but it is higher in sugar content (like carrots) so I wouldn’t go crazy on eating a lot of fruit.

But apples and strawberries and cherries and grapes are not tooterrible if you MEASURE a half cup serving and limit yourself to that – and eat only one or two servings of fruit per day (while you are trying to reduce).

Later on, of course, if you are in a maintenance mode, maybe you can cheat a little and have one or two extra servings of fruit but that is not the best thing to do when you are still trying to lose flab quickly.

Well, hope this helps!

tony K June 22, 2009 at 12:42 am

I did a post on my blog http://www.emotionsforengineers…healthful-eating.html some months ago.

I completely agree with your message ands sometimes finds myself in the mindless eating bind as well.

Restaurants are difficult, and especially if there is alcohol involved. I just stop thinking and start eating. Really good post to get me thinking about that again. Thanks.

Eat mindfully.


Sagheer June 22, 2009 at 2:49 am

Hey Rusty
Been reading your blog for a while and I love the fact that you are not afraid of trying things which are different and at times may be at odds with your method of training.
I was 80kgs (5’8″) when I decided to work out as my job as an equity analyst is long drawn (15 hr days) and with little exercise. I dropped down all the way to 63kgs (11% BF), then decided to buff up a bit. Thanks to all those fads I overate and now I have 17% BF, 70kgs. I think your method of training makes sense to me. I do not aspire to be built like a pro wrestler. I want a Tom Cruise kind of physique, so working towards that. My main fight is with my diet. Indian food is carb rich and not exactly very healthy! HELP!
PS: recommended your Fitness Black Book on my blog!

katie June 23, 2009 at 3:35 pm

I know how you feel about eating everything that’s on your plate–being a part of the clean plate club was nothing special in my house growing up as my grandfather used to say “you either eat it or you wear it,” so everyone’s plate was clean (the catch was, he served you so you had no control as to how much it was).
I also saw a tv show that did a study about this, and proved that individuals at a buffett will eat more if they are given larger plates as the serving sized look smaller than they actually are. Interesting…

admin June 23, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Flag Gal,

Sounds like a good idea to eat on a smaller plate. I will give that a shot.


I want an instant refillable soup bowl. Actually it would probably be a bad idea, because I can put down a lot of soup. As far as HIIT and Crazy 8’s enlarging your legs…there shouldn’t be an issue here. Make sure you do all of this while on a calorie deficit and you should be good.


It would be tough to have a corner store that close…especially since most corner stores are full of high calorie processed food. Stay strong!


I remember those days of trying to bulk up and put on as much weight as possible. That is such a terrible way to add muscle (for those who are trying to add muscle). It feels much better to stay lean year round and eat healthy foods and only eat higher calorie stuff from time to time. Like you, I have those “pig out” days as well…they are typically during the holidays or celebrating when family each brings a big dish of something good.

*** Have to run*** Will catch up on the rest of the comments soon,


Mr T June 24, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Best article I’ve read on fat loss since the ‘eat less calories than you burn’ one. The best advice is the simplest and this is vanilla ice. T

PS – I too am a stickler for cleaning the plate (and others’) – I think it’s in mens’ psyche to eat everything in sight as if you don’t know when the next meal will be. This ties in with the hunter gatherer theories. My mum always says “slow down – nobody’s going to take that away from you”. I think that says a lot.

Cornell June 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm

I think that we all have periods of mindless eating or the obesity rate wouldn’t be so high. I personally learned the hard way that your body takes care of you untill your 40 and then you take care of it. I won’t ever get a pot belly again. So regardless of what I eat now, I try to make sure that I have a salad or water rich vegetables with every meal. This basically makes sure that my water rich food intake stays at least 35% and curbs my appetite. It also helps because vegetables being fiber absorb fat and keep me with healthy toned muscle.

admin June 24, 2009 at 5:06 pm


I’m with you on salty trail mix type stuff…I have a hard time stopping.


Both explanations make sense to me, but the second one seems more probable. My guess is that the stomach doesn’t shrink after a fast…or at least not significantly. This would make for a good study, because after a certain period of time, I don’t crave food.


It sounds like you know your weakness .I’m with you…I just keep this stuff out of my apartment most of the time.


I’m sorry to hear that India is getting westernized…I like it when cultures stay a bit more unique. I think that soft drinks are a huge reason why people are overweight in the US. People can easily add 400-500 extra calories per day just by drinking soft drinks. Over the course of a month, this can add an extra 3 pounds of body fat. Over the course of a year…an extra 25-30 pounds. This is amplified even more if they eat fast food. I’m glad Brad Pilon has written Eat Stop Eat as well. I really enjoy his “no-nonsense” and realistic approach to staying lean.


I don’t even buy cereal anymore, because I have no problem taking down an entire box. Golden Grahams are like crack to me!


I don’t include contact info, because I like to answer questions on the site (that way people with the same question can benefit). Your routine looks good. If your legs stay bulky even when you drop the body fat, then you may have to change your Monday workout a bit…besides that, it looks solid to me. As far as diet goes…do all of your workouts in a fasted state…that means no calorie of any type 3-4 hours before your training sessions. Drink black coffee or 2-3 cups of tea for a little caffeine boost if you need energy. I’d recommend “Eat Stop Eat” as the ideal diet to stay lean while enjoying regular food. Go to the top of my page and click “Best Diet Plan”.


That is great advice. I am always trying to get more veggies into my diet anyway, so this is a great solution. I think I will give that a shot. I seem to do alright with fruit, because it helps me avoid really big snacks, but I know what you mean by limiting it. I have never steamed vegetables ahead of time. I think I will do the same thing and add hot sauce when snacking on them (love spicy foods).

tony K,

Restaurants are really tough at times. I do plan on implementing the strategy where me and my girlfriend each get a salad and then split an main course. I also will not be afraid to eat half and then take the rest home, if the portions are too big.


Thanks for recommending my site on your blog…you should enter your domain name when commenting, so your name becomes a link to your blog (that way people from my site will visit yours). I LOVE Indian food. Some spicy masala and nan with jasmine rice makes me happy. What you have to do is limit yourself to the carb-rich Indian food to maybe just 2 times per week. The rest of the time, you should eat indian style veggies and meat dishes. Also…don’t be afraid to throw in low calorie days 1-2 times per week.


That is funny when someone demands you to eat everything on your plate and you don’t get to chose the serving size. As far as buffets go, I used to love going to buffets…getting a lot of food for the money. Now I avoid them as much as possible, because the bottom line is that it is too tempting to eat as much as possible. The ocassional Sunday brunch or trips to Vegas are the exception. Las Vegas has some buffets that can’t be missed.


Total knee replacement June 25, 2009 at 12:32 am

you have explored awesome insights about Mindless eating, I do agree with you about some folks like me and you eating pizzas and bowls of nachos even though we are already full.

I think the logic that may work behind mindless eating could be to finish off the plate that has been offered to us. As a child i was taught to do so.

sangita June 25, 2009 at 5:05 am

Just hope I did’nt come off criticising USA. Some of the most favourite things in my life are American!

Sagheer June 25, 2009 at 5:36 am

Thanks for replying Rusty! Now I have added my site’s link. Will take your advice and see how it goes.

Lillea Woodlyns - Intermittent Fasting Review June 28, 2009 at 2:57 am

Like some other people have found, intermittent fasting has helped me realise how much mindless eating I’ve done in my life.

I still eat mindlessly at times, but at least I’m more aware of it. Mindful Mindless Eating. πŸ™‚

D June 29, 2009 at 7:26 am

Im also in this mindless eaters category. But what about ppl who sit there and have no urge to mindlessly munch. Its all down to filling an emotional void with food isnt it..?

Melani June 30, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Studies have been done on people with the “50 first dates” type of amnesia. They will eat meal after meal after meal, right in a row, so the researchers concluded that awareness has almost everything to do with feeling full after apropriate portion sizes.

I, too, am a mindless eater. The only good thing about that is I don’t mind mindlessly eating carotts and celery.

Chelsey July 1, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Thankyou so much for posting this website. I used to not think that i was that bad of a mindless eater but i am. I eat everything in front of me and it doesnt matter what it is I just eat it. Its so weird because you know most of the time you dont realize what your doing at all. Im going to become more aware because this is my problem and i need to beat it. Thanks!

David July 23, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Does anybody know which restaurant/store has nachos like that?

I would very much like to know.. they look great!

Johnny Walker July 28, 2009 at 1:25 pm

you ate two brownies!!! that is awful man. go punish yourself and run 80 miles.

Vijay Kumar Raisinghani August 31, 2009 at 5:01 am

Excellent post! It is true that we continue to eat even when our stomach is full when we eat mindlessly. Bringing greater mindfulness while we eat, as well in our daily activities is the key to achieve greater peace, bliss and balance in our life.

lana April 21, 2010 at 12:09 am

Thank you for the artical
the olny thing it does not talk about is the reason why we are overeating
mostly people overeat high calorie foods because they are emotionaly upset or do not feel loved or accepted by others .

IF a person eats large amount of a high calorie foods there is no way out excersise that so that is vere the weight gain starts
at least that where it strated with me
i have found a site : Healyourhunger
they help with emotional eating


also know your trigers
sometimes it is better to stay away from foods that make you over eat .
” you dont take a first bite, you dont have a problem “

charly May 30, 2010 at 4:32 pm

i really think you are right. i am a mindless eater. i really think this is because of the way children are brought up. when you are small your parents always tell you to finish your dinner. ‘you can’t leave the table until you have finished all your meal.’ and this is something that just stays with us. it seems an achievement to finish your plate after a big meal and everyone seems impressed when you do. mindless eating is just something that everyone does but i do think it shouldn’t be in the way you feel bad for not finishing your plate. why has our world brought us up to think that it is ungrateful to not finish a meal. I do think that smaller portion sizes is the way forward. then you are eating less and not feeling bed for doing so.

suzy June 19, 2010 at 6:46 pm

what is a bug in an adult stomach,how did i get it,i’ve been given anti biotics for next 14 days

Jayme November 9, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I’m a total mindless eater. I HAVE to be almost obsessive about splitting up portions when I buy large quantities so that i don’t just grab a container of something when I get that ‘itch’ to munch on something.

Ron November 29, 2010 at 2:49 am

Read β€˜Mindless Eating’ from Brian Wansink and you can get more comprehensive and practical suggestions on making simple changes that will allow you to lose 2 or 3 pounds per month. This is the best non-diet book there ever is.

archash December 9, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Hi Russ!

Yep! Extremely guilty here!

My main weaknesses are Pringles (one you pop you can’t stop!) and Cheetos. I am a bit of a sweet tooth as well (Darn those M&M’s). These things are probably what is halting my progress from losing these “last” stubborn 5-10lbs! Another Great read Russ!

P.S. – I just stumbled upon your site by accident (I actually forgot where I got the link lol). Like the many others here I’m also trying to get as LEAN as possible (my ultimate goal is the body Cam Giganet had in Never back down…yeah…I have a lot of work to do). I’m trying out ESE right now and pretty soon I’ll be incorporating The Vacation Body Blueprint and Visual Impact to my lifestyle (I need to read them first πŸ˜› but I keep getting sidetracked by all these other posts you made! curses! ). Anyway, great site Rusty. My eyes are officially “opened” and I cannot stop from reading AND backreading all the posts. Keep up the good work!

Layla April 15, 2011 at 4:55 am

I’m not really a mindless eater, but I was a BIG eater. As a little girl I would eat whatever was on my plate, then eat what was left in the kitchen and then eat what was left on the plates of father, brother and mother.

I am 25 now, have struggled with my weight pretty much all my life and I am now finally at a healthy weight! I do Atkins and I have gradually stopped eating so much.
Now I can have a normal sized salad for dinner and just be satisfied! πŸ˜€

Lya July 13, 2011 at 2:03 am

I can proudly say – I am NOT a mindless eater and took me a while to work on it ..I took this approach: every time the food is in front of me I took a step back and thought about it, remembering what ate through the day and how much I can allow myself to eat. When my stomach sent me signals that it’s full, I have basically put the rest in the fridge (if I was at home), or into the rubbish bin (if I didnt’ want it at all any more), if in restaurant, I’d put the napkin on it, so I didn’t continue eating. And yes it was VERY hard.
I’ve also learned how to chew slooowly as it takes about 20 minutes for our brain to get the signal that we are full, so stretch your chewing, also better for digestion, plus drink a glass of water before your meal, you’ll get full quicker πŸ˜‰

Adam Renshaw November 17, 2011 at 3:49 am


I am a huge mindless eater. Until about a year ago I was pretty overweight, but now I’ve managed to get my weight is check, build a six pack and I’m now one of the fittest people on my soccer team. However, I’ve just started a new job working in corporate relations, and many events we put on are catered and they always leave excess food such as pastries, cakes, sandwiches etc. I find it extremely difficult to just have one or two items, and often end up mindlessly eating about 10 pastries, 10 sandwiches and 5 cakes in one sitting. This is worsened by the fact that it’s all free, and professionally cooked (i.e. tasty).

Do you have any advice on how I can try and ignore the temptation to mindlessly eat at work? I don’t think I can handle going back to being overweight and unhappy, but I don’t feel like I can stop myself at this rate.

Catherine August 27, 2012 at 2:24 am

Hi Rusty

I am a huge mindless eater from South Africa.

I’ve read the blog and so happy to see i am not alone.

Two years ago i managed to loose 18kg’s and have since probably only picked up 2 or 3 kg. I’ve been trying to loose it again but struggling. During the day i am fine, but as soon as i get home i want to eat whatever is in sight. I’ve removed most of the wrong foods and making healthy supper, but after supper i find myself climing into my sons treat drawer! i don’t drink a lot of water, i struggle with that. i don’t know what to do anymore !!

Janet Aldrich September 12, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I’m a mindless eater, but I’m also an emotional eater, and that’s a lethal combination. I agree with those who posted that not having stuff in the house that you know you can’t say “no” to is the best approach (and it helps to have eaten something light before you go to the grocery store, too).

Somedays, though (and today, sadly has been one of them) I will eat even though I’m not hungry and I can’t figure out why. Same with sweet stuff — I’ve wiped out an entire bag of Oreo Double-Stuf cookies in one sitting, even though, as I’m doing it, I’m asking myself why. I feel like a marionette whose strings are being pulled from outside.

Carrie October 23, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Just reading through this article I ate 15+ baby carrots, three handfuls of cheese-its, and a handful of roasted almonds. That is after I ate two full plates at dinner. I have always been a huge eater, even as a child my mother would get dirty looks from people for taking food away from me because I wouldn’t stop eating. I have been luckily gifted with a very high metabolism and I don’t really have a sweet tooth except on rare occasions. I have just hit 30 and I am starting to notice weight gain because of my horrible eating habits. I am actually a very health conscious eater, being raised on an all organic farm. I don’t eat junk food, but my portions are completely out of control. I am a 5’5′ always been 130 female, but in the last year I am starting to inch up in weight and I know it is because of the way I eat. As many have mentioned they can out eat their friends, I can out eat all my friends combined. Its been a running joke my whole life that one day it is going to catch up with me and I am going to be the woman that cant leave her house because she can’t fit through the door. I need help and I am not sure where to begin. I’ve been told it is an emotional thing, but I am not sure it is. Also my energy level has severely deteriorated over the last year also… and no I have never been an excersizer but I am active. Please Help!!!

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