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Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  861 ratings  ·  135 reviews
In Slim by Design, leading behavioral economist, food psychologist, and bestselling author Brian Wansink introduces groundbreaking solutions for designing our most common spaces—schools, restaurants, grocery stores, and home kitchens, among others—in order to make positive changes in how we approach and manage our diets.

Anyone familiar with Wansink’s Mindless Eating knows
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 23rd 2014 by William Morrow (first published March 19th 2013)
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Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
The author is very knowledgable and has some great tips for setting up your life to make losing weight an inevitability. Unfortunately, much of this book is written for either people who own restaurants or manage grocery stores, or the sort of person who doesn't mind contacting the people who do to ask them to rearrange their businesses. He does make it as easy as possible to do so, but still, I'd have preferred more strategies for re-arranging things I actually have control over.
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really thought provoking and optimistic book about the ways we can encourage more healthful eating habits. It came across as hip and fun instead of pedantic and heavy handed. My only complaint is that it got a little repetitive in some spots. I read this as a library book, but may buy a copy for my reference bookshelf. A worthwhile read.
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I had to think about this book for awhile, since the solutions Wansink relates in "Slim by Design" will only really work if you are committed to improving your health, and your dysfunctional eating issues. But according to the studies he shows, they will work. I already knew about most of these ideas, but after spending time at a resort focused on healthy habits (eating well, exercising, mind/body practices), I was able to see some of these ideas in practice, and dammit, they were effective. We ...more
Sep 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Wansink recommends changing your environment to promote healthy eating. It's a great idea but I wish there was more attention devoted to arranging your home. He spends time on the workplace, school and restaurants- all places that could use change but that the reader probably doesn't have as much influence. Another criticism is that the suggestions are fairly familiar (e.g keeping fruit in bowls in plain sight and using smaller plates).
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found this book a little disappointing compared to Mindless Eating. I felt that there was constant repetition of ideas and that he was talking down to the reader. There were one or two useful tips but the rest of the book involved policy changes in grocery stores and restaurants. Here's the best tip: don't eat processed foods, that will make anyone thin!
Feb 05, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed Brian Wansink's book, Mindless Eating, so I thought I'd give this a try. There were some good take-away ideas. I like reading about his studies most. I did end up checking it out from the library three or four times before I finally made it through, so it wasn't overly captivating. Or I keep checking out too many books at once.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

This book is absurd. Most of it you already know and if you have issues with overeating then telling you to “sit further from the buffet” and “use a smaller plate” are insulting and don’t address the real issues with our broken food systems.
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Great ideas!
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great book on the little things that make people overeat and tips to stop eating mindlessly. Similar to his prior book, Mindless Eating, but with new ideas. This book is divided into five sections, based on the places you are most likely to eat or get food: your home, your office, restaurants, the grocery store and the school cafeteria. I skipped the cafeteria and I wasn't really that interested in the grocery store, but overall, it was an entertaining, informative and fascinating.
Hamideh Mohammadi
Feb 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: science, non-fiction
This book is a collection of studies done in restaurants and supermarkets as well as university cafeterias and people's house, on eating habits and lifestyles. Although the results were interesting, I found them very similar to those reported in the Mindless Eating. Plus, the kindle version of this book had a disorganized format.
Mary Lou
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was a big fan of Wansink's "Mindless Eating." Unfortunately this seems like an attempt to repackage a lot of the same information. The new stuff, urging readers to contact restaurants, grocery stores, etc. and have them change their entire way of doing business, is unrealistic. I highly recommend "Mindless Eating" - if you've read that, you can skip "Slim By Design."
Jul 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: health
I liked this book. It's interesting to think how the things around us influence our decisions and the way we live. I haven't figured out what I want to do in my life to change things and outcomes, but I'm watching for the things I can do differently!
Kim Birum
Jul 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting insights into the life of a man losing his vision due to macular degeneration.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Edit: After some further digging, I am concerned about the quality of the research underpinning this book. This is a decent summary of the concerns. I'll still probably recommend it to a few people but it will be with more than a pinch of salt. Also, it should probably be noted that the extent of nutritional awareness that this book shows doesn't go much beyond Calories InEnd Edit.

This book basically goes through a bunch of studies that apply Thaler & Sunstein's idea of "Nudges" with the
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you treat this book sort of like a Choose Your Own Adventure, it's four stars. If you plan to read every page, it will get cumbersome.

What I loved about it was the consistently clear instructions for change and their supportive research evidence. For example, if you have even one box of cereal in plain view in the kitchen, you will on average weigh 21 pounds more than someone who doesn't.

Eating well takes time and effort and the author skips willpower and blaming and focuses on designing
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I like that the results are all backed up with experiments, albeit not longterm observations. I wonder how the make overs work out in 5 years, 10 years, etc. Some tips might be useful to implement, e.g. to put out a fruit bowl in the kitchen, to stock up yogurt, string cheese, and cut vegetables, to sit facing away from the buffet bar, to use smaller plate, etc. Although I have doubts about how consistently one can adhere to the "design". I know the feeling of craving something, and am doubtful ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is NOT a diet book. It's a way to become healthier eaters based on where foods are placed in your home, office, cafeteria, etc. Based on the wisdom that overcoming willpower is more difficult, smart food choices are made easier by conveniently placing healthier foods in your grasp. Solutions for your favorite restaurant, grocery store, as well as your child's lunchroom are included; however, those require action beyond yourself. Wansink calls us to action to enlist all our regular food ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The graphics, illustrations and design of this book are visually appealing (view spoiler). I think the observations and conclusions presented are fascinating, and I appreciate the simple changes we can make in our environment to achieve effortless healthy habits (for ourselves and other people). This book does not ...more
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fitness
There’s some useful tips and research insights, but it’s all drenched in pointless (and often not entertaining) humor and useless fill-in sentences. It could be 100% more useful if it was 50% more focused.

The other issue I saw is that it’s difficult to get who’s the audience the books is aimed to.

A tad too much on the overselling side makes it annoying and almost unbearable at the end.
Rady Fahmy
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Good and a light book. It starts very well and it is obvious that it is backed by years of experience. It is a light and a quick read. It suffers from two things. The book is bloated, it could have been thinner by design. Second, it is written mostly for establishment owners or people that want to influence those establishments.
Amanda Hilde
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've read Brian Wansink's other book, "Mindless Eating" a few years back. He definitely touches on a lot of good info in that book so I was fairly excited to see what this one had to offer. It had lots of suggestions to help curb mindless eating in a variety of situations. I definitely implemented some of the home solutions.
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Quite a bit for restaurants and other establishments to change their design for people to eat less or more healthfully but I can't see them doing so. Less for individuals at home, especially if you've already read a lot of similar research (eat off small plates, don't have junk food available or visible, keep healthy food visible, etc.).
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it
His second book. This one is a little less helpful for the individual. It encourages people to implement suggestions to discourage mindless eating as well as advocate for local restaurants, schools, and workplaces to make changes to make us all healthier.

I appreciate the nudge to advocacy and the checklists, but many of the chapters simply weren't applicable.
Stephanie Jackson
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
More interesting than I thought it would be. I am probably not going to go out and talk to my grocery store/schools/work/local restaurants about these changes, but I can look to implement them at home and for myself. I think it's a wise goal to make being healthy the easier choice.
Ana Carolina Lemmens
I liked it. Reading is pleasant, tips are nice, but for me sometimes too American. I should have seen that one coming, after all, it's an American, who did research on food consumers in America, but I couldn't always relate with what was said in the book and that's too bad.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really interesting with some very pertinent point about the psychology that affects our decision making around how and what we eat.

As this was based mainly around eating outside the home, I would now like to read a previous book by the same author - Mindless Eating.
Caitlin Skellett
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
An entertaining book with magazine-like info graphics. It's fun to read and interesting but there were certain sections of the book that don't really apply to everyone. I like that it is research-based and that the changes are all small and non-overwhelming ones.
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Perhaps I am cynical, but many of the suggestions (contacting grocery stores re: rearranging aisles, etc.) seemed .... a bit much. I did appreciate most of the practical, personal advice. Overall, this made me want to read his other book "Mindless Eating."
Nov 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The messages in the book were good. But tended to be repeated several times. Not quite sure if that was intended to help one remember the principles, or if it was just to take up space. Nevertheless, I'd recommend this as a good lifestyle read.
Really interesting. Good writer. Liked the footnotes.
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Brian Wansink is an American professor in the fields of consumer behavior and nutritional science and is currently serving as the Executive Director of the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), which is charged with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines and with promoting the Food Guide Pyramid (MyPyramid).

Wansink is best known for his work on consumer behavior and food and for
“Even though I was appointed by the White House to be executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s agency in charge of the 2010 United States Dietary Guidelines, and even though I am a past president of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, I still don’t think most nutrition education is very effective. People know that an apple is better for them than a Snickers bar, but . . . they eat the Snickers bar anyway.” 1 likes
“If a wave of veganism washed over the land, in six months there would be Broccoli Kings, Taco Bell Peppers, and McTofu Drive-Thrus.” 0 likes
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