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Week 2 - Lesson 1: Understanding your social environment and food choice

We're going to explore your social environment.


Do you know other people's habits influence your own? Do you remember the first thing to order at a restaurant without consulting anyone else or make a meal without taking your friends into account?


We wanted you to avoid norm matching: you behave just like the majority of others do.


When it comes to norm matching, there are 3 ways in which other people's habits influence our own


  1. Food choice


While you are doing have a mind of your own, your brain likes to avoid decision fatigue, remember?


"I'll have what she's having" could be a great way to try and do that.


Make better choices:


Decide what you'll eat ahead of time: You'll lessen the impact of decision fatigue, fit your meal in your calorie budget and reduce the possibility that friend’s choices impact your own.


Keep a secret: When you're eating with family and friends, don't ask them what they're eating and do not allow them to tell you what you ought to eat.


Order first: you are a leader. If you're at a restaurant, jump the gun and tell your server. 


  1. Food handling


Harry picks up his fork, and you are doing too. Mary grabs a roll; you're thinking, "that sounds like a decent idea" and dives into it. We sync many of our eating actions with those around us: starting/stopping eating, taking breaks, using utensils or hands.



Handle food differently:


Make conversation: The more engaged you're in a conversation, the less attention your mind will have to be compelled to observe others' actions.


Take smaller bites: If you discover yourself always eating at the constant time as your friend, at least slow down.


  1. Food consumption


If you create that "someone else" a spouse, a loved one, or a lover, that meal is going to be even larger than if you were to dine together with your neighbor or co-worker.


You'll eat 58% more with 3 people, 69% more with 4 people, 96% more with 7 people… you get the purpose.


Eat less with the social group:

Low-calorie dense foods always have your back. You eat an equivalent amount (volume) of food as somebody else, you will be eating fewer calories. 


Divide and conquer: it is easy to urge lost in conversation and not realize what proportion you're actually eating. If you've got control over your portions, take a smaller amount of food than you've allotted. If food is being served, before you start eating, divide your plate into 2 sections: "what I should eat" and "what I should save (ie. leftovers)".


Bond differently: instead of bonding over dinner, consider going for a show, or doing anything which may be enjoyable together - but choose something else. 


Take a moment to believe your social eating habits. Does one keep eating until others stop? Does one let your friend’s choice determine your own?

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