“I get upset about underdone pizza,” Eat Train Progress Radio, All Things Food Environment

Hey, it’s been a while since I shared an episode from Patrick, and I’m super stoked to think there will be more content going forward from him and his awesome team. Patrick hosts the most inclusive, well-moderated lifting community that I’ve found online, and I’m thrilled to take a moment to share some of his content and spread the love and potatoes (IYKYK). ETP Radio has had a relaunch with new cohost Daryl, and last week’s episode covered a super-helpful topic when trying to change our eating behaviors–food environment.

After some banter, Patrick and Daryl get into some specific suggestions for changing our food environments to make it easier to make more health-promoting food choices. Simple changes like putting fruits and veggies at eye level and putting more tempting foods up high and out of sight can make making the healthier choice easier. Other changes, like pre-portioning tasty foods, or having some foods that you only enjoy when eating out or with family, can make a lot of sense depending on your particular needs and concerns.

There’s lots of good suggestions here, and the episode is worthy of a listen for anyone looking for a place to start. If you want more ideas, you could pick up Brian Wansink’s book Mindless Eating, which I suspect is the origin of most of this discussion in the evidence-based fitness space. Unfortunately, a lot of Wansink’s research has been put under a microscope due to some statistical shenanigans that led to the end of his prominence in the food research realm. However, despite some of the numbers being suspect, I have found many of the suggestions to still be valid, at least for my n=1 sample, and it sounds like Daryl and Patrick still find them useful for themselves and their athletes, too. Wansink is the origin of popular suggestions about using smaller plates and bowls, changing the lighting in eating areas, and plating food away from the table before you sit down. When I encountered his research, I did lots of experiments on myself to discern which behaviors might help me make more intentional eating decisions, and while they didn’t all feel powerful for me, many of them did, and I continue to utilize many environmental strategies still today.

As discussed in the last post on eating out in restaurants, to me the most impactful tools are strategies combined with mindset work, and while I love the simplicity of using environmental cues to influence my eating decisions, I feel most at ease by learning to address the scarcity mindset and other roadblocks that can be at the heart of unwanted eating. I really enjoyed hearing from Patrick and Daryl spitball about the power of food environment, and I would love to hear more about how they address these problematic mindsets when they encounter them in their athletes.


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