Health psychologist, with special love for food and eating matters
Vilnius, Lithuania

Eating is so much more about mind than digestion. It is about what we know, how we make choices and decisions, our attitidues, problem solving and planning abilities, social influence, habits, memories, goals, motivation. And yes, also about hormones, neurotransmitters, microbiome and other wonderful things. And all of that happens before you take every bite or sip.

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Monika Kuzminskaitė on Food & Eating PsychologyHealth psychologist, with special love for food and eating mattersabout 21 hours ago
67: Who decides now? So, are you eating now a donut that you were forced to eat because everyone was getting one, so you thought oh I should not, but what the hell, and it somehow bought itself and kind of jumped into your mouth all by itself, too? Didn't have time for lunch , so decided to "grab something", so you will not be hungry as hell later at night, this is why you are now eating hamburger and drinking cola, while deciding to start diet, but beginning with Monday, so it does not feel as guilty? So who is deciding what goes into your body? Food decisions is a very serious area of research. The path to your stomach goes across your experience (all the way from your childhood), the advertising that you saw yesterday, the emotions you felt the day before, the people that you eat with, your habits, decisions where you will buy your food, how you will cook it, how much of it there will be, how you will deal with leftovers, whether you like washing dishes and many more (1; 6). Your attitudes regarding healthy lifestyle, natural food, body weight control and ethic ways of preparing food may have significant impact of what ends up on your plate (2). It is just as important whether the food looks appealing to you, smells good, is usual for you, price is acceptable, does not require too much time, and finally, does it provide you with other benefits, such as chance to communicate (3; 6) - yes, lonely salad may lose against cake and coffee with friends, especially if there will be other contributing factors, like failures at work, poor mood, need to discuss work matters, and so on). Influence of close friends is especially important for the adolescents (4). WHAT we eat and HOW MUCH we eat are not parts of the same decision. Most of the advice says that you can eat anything in small quantities. The quantity decisions requires more attention, though. For example, if you buy pizza, and it is only in large size, you will likely eat more of it, than if you would have bought a smaller one. Empty plate is one of the signs of satiety, and you will likely eat more if the food will be called "healthy" or "fat free", regardless of what it really is, because you already "gave licence" for yourself to eat (5). But most of all, everyone needs to be reminded, that every bite is a decision. Considerate, mindful eating is a straight path to the food that you want to be eating all the time. Every decision is yours (except for very few exceptions), unless you push yourself into corner and do not allow yourself time for making those decisions (even if there is hardly anything more important than your health), or "forgiving" yourself with the reasons and explanations that you just found. ------------------------------------------------------ 1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12160-009-9124-5 2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tessa_Pollard/publication/13538735_Motives_underlying_healthy_eating_Using_the_Food_Choice_Questionnaire_to_explain_variation_in_dietary_intake/links/0912f50929e19991e3000000/Motives-underlying-healthy-eating-Using-the-Food-Choice-Questionnaire-to-explain-variation-in-dietary-intake.pdf 3. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ce7a/6423c24163a7344968c6b9e969d8329a412d.pdf 4. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-277X.1995.tb00292.x/full 5. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/David_Just/publication/227349291_Mindless_Eating_and_Healthy_Heuristics_for_the_Irrational/links/00b7d52d40be563fa2000000.pdf 6. http://www.psychwiki.com/dms/other/labgroup/Measufsdfsdbger345resWeek1/Lindsay/steptoe1995.pdf And here is a great book only about food decisions: https://books.google.lt/books?hl=en&lr=&id=_t0IoTcVxIIC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=food+choice+decisions+healthy&ots=1mlTvPfb8k&sig=dyQgp7oKZx59Vx31hK2-mvCzklE&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=food%20choice%20decisions%20healthy&f=false ------------------------------------------------------ My name is Monika, I am psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, counsel and teach.
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Monika Kuzminskaitė on Food & Eating PsychologyHealth psychologist, with special love for food and eating mattersSome time ago
Article. How psychologist can help you maintain your chosen diet? Actually, I really do not like using "diet" here, because we really do not use it well. DIet for us starts with some fancy magazine, book, portal post or some other advertising media. Then we go to "hope" phase - "this time it is going to work!". Then old habits come, one by one or in teams. At last, we end with the usual - guilt, shame, despair, frustration. So, what a psychologist can advise before you start it for one more last time? 1. Do not go to extremes. Physical and mental body is very inert, if you take sudden turns, it will always try to take you back to initial position. 2. Eat tasty food. WHatever diet you choose, it needs to taste good for you to follow it for a long time. Look for healthy AND tasty food, do not give up - you will definitely find it. And if you really really miss something - include it in your plan instead of constantly pining for it. Irregular occasions means nothing to your overall success. 3. Take on changes only if you can sustain them for a long time. If your plan requires home cooked food every day and you really do not have time for it - or will - such plan does not have a bright future. Be honest with yourself, there is no shame in admitting who you are. Shame, by the way, will not motivate you to stick to the plan. ******************************************************** Article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/prescriptions-life/201607/the-3-crucial-rules-reaching-healthy-weight ******************************************************** My name is Monika, I am psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, counsel and teach.
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Monika Kuzminskaitė on Food & Eating PsychologyHealth psychologist, with special love for food and eating mattersSome time ago
Research. Ok, academic exercise of thinking, but still. People who choose to drink sweetened beverages, do so because of instant gratification, pleasure here and now. When encouraging people to replace sweetened drinks with water, focus is often on the long term benefits, like better health. That means that a wrong weapon is used. Long term benefit usually loses against short term pleasure (you know, better an egg today than a hen tomorrow, and so on). In order to choose the right "weapon", it is better to say - water tastes great, is cool, refreshing, leaves no aftertaste or smell in the mouth, quenches thirst the best, doesn't stick to the teeth, etc. - that is, use same type of arguments. That is why healthy food also needs to be tasty, pretty and pleasant to eat, here and now - and (not only) because it is good for long term health. Paper: http://healthycognitionlab.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Desire_healthy_hydration_in_press_ANM.pdf Photo: Olga1205 from Pixabay --------------------------------------------------------------------------- My name is Monika, I am psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, counsel and teach.
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Monika Kuzminskaitė on Food & Eating PsychologyHealth psychologist, with special love for food and eating mattersSome time ago
Research. Some people tend to classify some food as "guilt-free" (like broccoli) and some other as "guilty pleasure" (like, let's say, donuts) based on what feelings food elicits when eaten. Of course, noone becomes good by eating broccoli and noone becomes bad just by eating a donut. In this research 45 different reasons for feeling guilty about eating something were described: internal (like I should not eat it, I already have overweight), external (I should not eat it, it has way too many calories), situational (like vacation) and cultural (like Christmas). GUilt is one of the worst types fo after-emotions - it is very sticky and usually draws one into cycle of increasing guilt and increasing behavior ("I shouldn't - oh, I'm so bad - Oh well, whatever, I'll just eat it all"). It is significantly better to eat that cookie with a lot of pleasure that to eat the whole box while crying. Research: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/joss.12622 Photo: StockSnap from Pixabay --‐-------------------- My name is Monika, I am psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, counsel and teach.
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Monika Kuzminskaitė on Food & Eating PsychologyHealth psychologist, with special love for food and eating mattersSome time ago
66: Bulimia To me word "bulimia" always was a little bit funny, even though there is nothing funny about it. Laughs aside, a spoonful of reason - first of all. Bulimia (bulimia nervosa) is an eating disorder with typical uncontrolled binging episodes, dying which person eats a lot of food, usually very quickly, until significant pain is felt. High level of concern with body image is also very usual. This concern often is expressed as an attempt to compensate for the large amount of consumed food. Everyone does that, you say? Other symptoms to look out for is regular visits to bathroom after a meal, throwing up, calluses on the knuckles (they form due to multiple attempts to induce vomiting), constant use of laxatives, intense workouts, and, of course, eating binges when abnormally large amounts of food are consumed. You should pay attention to gathering food supplies in the bedroom or other secret spots, where it can be eaten away from the eyes and judgement of others. Sometimes such food can be "special", different from the usual food. "A lot" of food should imagined as at least several portions of your regular lunch. The consequences of bulimia usually are eroding teeth enamel, sores on esophagus, electrolyte imbalance (which may affect heart and other internal organs), frequent constipation, rupture of the stomach. Body weight is usually normal, so one cannot readily recognize someone with bulimia, while anorexia usually is more visible. Having said that - bulimia sometimes comes together with anorexia. Cognitive behavior therapy is very efficient in treating bulimia while drug treatments also help a little. Another detail - treatment of all eating disorders is usually most productive if all family takes part in it. If you feel that you do have it or know someone who does - please contact your family doctor or specialized eating disorders center. ‐‐--------------------- My name is Monika, psychologist. I help to deal with daily and difficult questions about behavior, thinking, emotions. I write, counsel and teach.

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