Mindless Margin

....or How Did I get so Overweight?

The Mindless Margin, is a term coined by Brian Wansink, P.H.D. in his book Mindless Eating. It is beginning to become an everyday term, and explains how most of us have put on a few pounds over the years.

The Mindless Margin, is the margin or zone, in which we can either slightly overeat, or slightly under eat, without being aware of it. Most of us can trim, or add to our food intake by 20%, without noticing it, either way. This is the key to losing, or gaining weight. It is also the reason why diets are not needed. Great healthy diet habits, can keep you in the lower end of the mindless margin. You do not need to change your entire life and starve yourself.

If you slightly overeat by as little as 100 extra calories per day, (be thinking one 100 calorie bar) for one year, you can increase your weight by approximately 10 pounds per year! This can add up drastically over a lifetime. Most of us gain weight by slightly overeating.

Overeat 100 calories /day for a year:


  • 100 (extra calories per day) x365 (days/yr) = 36,500 calories/year

  • 36,500 divided by 3500 (approx. calories to make up one pound) = 10.42 pounds gained/yr

The results of overeating 100 calories/day over a 10 year period:

  • Age 20 - 120 lbs.

  • Age 21 - 130 lbs.

  • Age 22 - 140 lbs.

  • Age 23 - 150 lbs.

  • Age 24 - 160 lbs.

  • Age 25 - 170 lbs.

  • Age 26 - 180 lbs.

  • Age 27 - 190 lbs.

  • Age 28 - 200 lbs.

  • Age 29 - 210 lbs.

  • Age 30 - 220 lbs.

Overeating by 100 calories per day, for ten years can add on an extra 100 pounds! Most of us do not get to this point, but we begin our lifetime process of Yo-Yo dieting!

Many obese people, do not become obese by grossly overeating, but by overeating by a small amount, over a long period of time.

If you continued the above chart out, it might look like this:

  • Age 40 - 320 lbs.

  • Age 50 - 420 lbs.

  • Age 60 - 520 lbs.

Now let’s do the math for the Mindless Margin in a positive way!

For each 100 calories per day, that you consistently decrease your food intake, you should lose 10 pounds per year.

You can change your lifestyle slightly, by developing healthy diet habits, without giving up all the foods you love, and lose weight. Lose weight by decreasing your portion control by 20%, and increasing your fruits and veggies by 20%. You will not feel deprived, discouraged or demoralized!

Our bodies do not notice when we decrease our portion sizes by 20%, so use the Mindless Margin to your advantage. Eat what you love, just 20% less!


This is a Lifestyle Solution that you need to be mindful of!

You can order Brian Wansink's, Mindless Eating book directly from Amazon.com below. It is one of my "Top 10 Recommended Books" to read!

Go to Lifestyle Solutions

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