Looking for a new way to eat less? Try dining with a light eater. The psychological effect, known as social modeling, leads people to tend to eat less than their normal amount when their dining partner is a light eater. Conversely, if the dining partner eats a lot, the person feels free to eat their normal amount or more.
Researchers at University of New South Wales School of Psychology, analyzed 38 different studies on how much people consumed while in the company of others. They found the results of this social modeling extended to many situations: healthy and unhealthy snack foods, during meals, when the diners has been fasting for up to a day, among children, and it occurred independently of people’s weight.
Interestingly, the effect was observed without the companion present, but merely when presented with a written indication of what the other diner ate.
This research may help shed some light on our own weight loss successes and difficulties. Many people report improved weight loss when trying to lose weight with their partners. Since spouses and domestic partners often dine together, if both are trying to eat less, the social modeling behavior may work in their favor. If your partner is not trying to eat less, you may find it beneficial to find a friend or coworker who is a light eater and eat with them more often.
The above suggestion is offered by Dr. Shillingford, MD, PA, a board certified surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band surgeries. Dr. Shillingford takes pride in helping his patients with morbid obesity achieve their weight loss goals. Although Dr. Shillingford’s practice is located in Boca Raton, Florida, his patients come from as far away as Miami, Jacksonville, Orlanda, Tampa, Wellington, and West Palm Beach for his bariatric surgery services.