Here's some interesting research on weight loss from social psychologist, Stanley Schachter .
One question he asked was "How do taste and flavour affect the amount that people eat?
The following is Andrew Austin's interpretation on the work that Schachter did.
In one of his experiments he invited 100 overweight people to a party and 100 slim people to another. He served milkshakes for refreshments. At the end of the parties, they measured how much milkshake had been consumed. As was expected, the overweight group consumed far more than the skinny group.
He then threw two more parties for the same groups, but this time he added quinine to the milkshakes. He added just a timey bit to ever so slightly taint the taste. What happened to the consumption was rather surprising. In the overweight group the consumption absolutely plummeted, while in the skinny group, the level of consumption only came down a little bit.
The inference from this study was that people with weight issues are naturally driven by flavour and taste. Flavour and taste are very important to them.
Another bit of research was called the Effort Hypothesis. Once again he threw two parties for 100 overweight people and 100 skinny people. Now he serves both groups peanuts. Again the overweight people consumed far more peanuts than the skinny group. However, when the parties were repeated and peanuts were again served, they were served in their shells. In other words one had to break them open in order to get to the nuts. There was a massive reduction in consumption by the overweight group, while in the skinny group there was almost no change at all. So this led to the Effort Hypothesis.
Now in terms of food preparation, overweight people tend to prefer food that is readily available. The slimming industry has clearly understood this and makes a fortune of money by preparing flavourful ready to eat meals which are easily and quickly prepared as well as very flavourful.
Normal weighted people don't live on those foods. Only over weight people buy those foods. The advertisers gear their sales pitch to them. It's so popular to offer a shake or a pre-packed meal as this feeds right into the overweight psyche.
So start becoming aware of immediacy and flavour.
An additional area which Schachter investigated was distractibility. So here he discovered that people with weight issues are very easily distracted while those who do not have weight issues are less easily distracted while eating. People eat much more while watching TV. They're not aware of how much they're consuming. Overweight people are distracted by the TV and therefore consume more. People without weight issues are more likely to focus on the food and not be distracted as easily.
Overweight people might enjoy livelier meals with lots of conversation. As a result they'll be less aware of how much they're eating, as they're distracted from the task at hand. People who are distracted by outside circumstances are less inclined to notice when they're full. They're less focused on what's happening inside themselves. If one's easily distracted they may only notice when they're completely stuffed and then they'll say, "I wish I hadn't eaten all that cake!!"
So here's a task: Try eating some of your meals all alone and without any distractions. Get rid of the TV, newspaper, books and radio. The idea is for you to become focused on your body and the food you're putting into your body. This way you'll be able to become more aware of your bodily signals which tell you you've eaten enough. When you eat in front of the TV you can not notice you've finished an entire tub of ice cream, or packet of crisps. You're not paying attention to the cues coming from your body or the cues from what's right in front of you like an ice cream tub that's emptying out. Try to become familiar with not being distracted whilst you're eating. Take time to prepare meals. This means you need to plan ahead. You need to become more organized.
So many people don't hear the signal to stop eating because they're so busy being distracted by external stimulation that they don't notice it. They think the time to stop eating is when there's no more food on the plate or there's no more food in the house. They've stopped listening to their internal signal.
Take time eating your meals.