You say “quirky diet tips that actually work” I say “disordered eating.” Who’s right?

See oddly effective weight loss ideas backed by science.

And okay, oddly effective yes, but also weird and sounding a lot like disordered eating to me.

We’ve written about that whole eating in front of the mirror thing, see Mirror, mirror, on the wall.

I’ve written before about using blue dishes. Apparently they prompt you to eat less.

The list has other doozies on it too, like if you’re a woman (a straight woman? It didn’t say) eat with men. Then you’ll eat less. Eat in a tidy house. It’s less stressful. Also you’ll have a better view of the mirror. Also, eat in a dimly lit room. But how will I know if my dishes are blue?

It started to remind me of the Weight Watchers meeting I went to where people actually got into a discussion about how many points you had to count if you put part of a muffin in your mouth, chewed it, read the calorie count on the label and then spit it out. Chewing and spitting out seems a bit close to bulemia to me.

So I’m all for eating hacks to help you reach the goals you’ve chosen and finding things that make it easier. See Hack your nutrition. But some things, like the vibrating fork (see Chewdaism and vibrating forks) that tells you when you’ve had enough to eat seem too judgey to me and too close to disordered eating patterns. Other things like meal planning and tracking feel more like useful decision making and feedback tools.

But I know different people draw the line in different places. Maybe one’s person scary disordered eating habit just is another person’s healthy habit hack.

How about you? What’s helpful? What’s emotionally not so healthy for you? Where do you draw the line between habits and hacks on the one hand, and disordered eating on the other? 

About Sam B

Philosopher, feminist, parent, and cyclist!

7 thoughts on “You say “quirky diet tips that actually work” I say “disordered eating.” Who’s right?

  1. duffrunning says:

    I can see how using blue plates would make you eat less actually – I hate eating or drinking off a blue or black crockery surface, it makes the food or drink taste weird to me and it just looks wrong. But that would actually make me not use blue crockery, because dammit I want to enjoy my meal! Just eat sensible food til you’re full 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 16goingon60blog says:

    I just came across this blog and I love it so much! I feel like you’re writing about all the things I’m thinking but can’t find the right words for.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ebay313 says:

    I find the dim lighting advice good… Addy least, if you have light sensitivity issues like me! Lol. I eat in dim light, I workout in dim light (at home), read, watch TV, do work (at home), draw, play with cats, et cetera. If I can avoid bright light I do. For everything.

    I’m curious about the peppermint. I wonder if it helps with nausea? Idk, just for myself there seems to be a strange connection between nausea and hunger. Like if I can reassure my body that food ain’t happening, it relaxes with the nausea signals.

    The one about eating in front of men though just makes me sad. Yes, eat in front of men to lose weight so you feel unattractive or unfeminine if you eat too much or eat too “manly” of foods. -_-

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  4. siglindesarts says:

    I can see the mirror and the tidy kitchen both contributing to mindful eating (though I much prefer the tidy kitchen to the mirror!). I would question whether the tidy kitchen is a causal effect or just a correlation, though. Using cash to pay for junk food would probably work for me since I almost never carry cash (and I enjoy this kind of silly mind game), but I rarely buy junk for myself anyway.

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  5. I read somewhere that it was small, square, red plates that make you eat less. I’ve always said I would buy that type when next I bought dishes….just to try it out. We rarely use the big plates in our house and I’ve found I go back for fewer “seconds” on food when I use the small plate.

    I live in a house with all boys, but I think I ate the least in my life when I was single and lived alone. I must be too much of a social eater to have this “rule” effect me.

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  6. RunBikeThrow says:

    Good Lord. What happens when you go on a trip and the hotel doesn’t have blue dishes? I suppose you could buy blue-tinted glasses, or even better, blue-tinted dark glasses for the dim light effect.

    It just seems to me that all this trying to trick your body/mind into sensible eating ends up being self-defeating – because, after all, you know you’re trying to trick yourself. Wouldn’t it be better to shift the focus to living healthier and establishing new habits to support that? Like being physically active and getting full on healthy food first?

    Disclosure: I’m a guy. I realize I don’t get it. But I don’t even get why I don’t get it. Feel free to enlighten me.

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