The Popcorn Effect: How Mindless Eating Prohibits Weight Loss

We’ve all been there.

You’re at the cinema enjoying a night out with the girls. You order one of those enormous packets of popcorn. Perhaps you tell yourself “I’ll only eat half”. Imagine the surprise, when after a short time, your hand scrapes the bottom of the box already. Where’d all that popcorn go?!

That – dear reader – is a classic case of mindless eating. So mesmerised were we by the big screen, that we didn’t even notice how much we ate.

The problem with mindless eating is that it’s breathtakingly easy for us to eat waaaaay more than our body actually needs.

And worst of all, we don’t even know we’re doing it….until bit by bit we need to up-size our jeans.

Busy, busy, busy!!!

“I’m busy!” is the most common answer to the question “so, how are you?”

In response to our busy lives we multi-task, tick off our endless To Do list and juggle competing  priorities.

Among this busyness we’ve become mesmerised.

Mesmerised by the noise around us, so that we no longer hear what’s going on within us.

INTERESTING FACT: Did you know that one of the forefathers of hypnotherapy was a German chap called Mesmer. Yep! We literally get ‘mesmerised’ by the noise and distractions around us – and we’re completely unaware of the hypnotic trance we’re in.


One client was a self-confessed bookworm. Every evening, to reward herself after a stressful day at the office, she’d enjoy a novel while nibbling on chocolates. She’d be so engrossed in the story she’d not even taste the flavour of the delicious morsels.

Another client would routinely eat a big dinner in front of the evening news. By the end of the news he’d have finished his generous portion, but because he’d been so distracted by the headlines, he’d take little notice of his dinner. Within 30 minutes he’d be heading to the pantry driven by the feeling “I just need a little something more”.

Another client would buy takeaways at the Drive Through and eat it while she was navigating traffic. Then, once home, she’d eat dinner. It was like her burger en route didn’t register in her tummy because she was distracted with driving.

So….what is mindful eating?

Mindful eating is about engaging ALL of your senses when you eat.

Really taste the sweetness of your chocolate.
See the colours of summer in that salad.
Feel the delicate texture of the steak on your tongue.
Inhale the savoury scent of garlic.
Say a silent blessing to the farmer who raised the chicken you’re about to enjoy.
Be still and focus on the food in front of you.

Simple steps to being mindful

The easiest way to be mindful is to close your book, turn off the telly, power down your iPad. You can always update your Facebook page and answer those emails after you’ve eaten!

If you’re at the Drive Through, do not eat while driving. Instead find a quiet spot where you can give your burger the attention that it needs, and you can hear your the signals from your body.

Be present.
Be grateful.
Be mindful.

Food was meant to be enjoyed, to be savoured. Eating is not just another thing to tick off your To Do list!

So why not take the time to honour and nourish your body. Slow your eating down (see Step 1) and be mindful.

When you’re truly mindful, you’ll be able to hear your miraculous body giving you significant cues as to when to eat – but more importantly – when to stop eating.

Love etc, Avril

PS: We get what we want in life by taking small, regular steps in the right direction. If you’re finding even these simple steps difficult to action, hypnotherapy can help you do what you need to do.

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