pp. Eating without thinking or without being hungry.
Women can munch their way into a bigger dress size in weeks by "auto-eating" the calorie equivalent of a Big Mac a day….Boredom is the main reason for auto-eating.
—Jo Willey, “Boredom makes women put on weight,” Daily Express, May 24, 2010
According to a study by RAND researcher Deborah Cohen and Thomas Farley of Tulane University School of Public Health, powerful environmental cues lead to automatic eating, a recipe for diet disaster
—“How to Avoid Auto-Eating,” Military Spouse, November 11, 2009
2001 (earliest)
I love it with a thick spaghetti (Barilla makes a good one), which mellows the heat in the sauce ever so slightly, but doesn't tame it so much that you go into auto-eating mode — you know, the kind of eating you do without thinking because the food you're chowing on is so bland, so meek, your taste buds become indifferent to what's passing over them.
—Andrea Clurfeld, “Pasta sauce, red vino take heat in stride,” Asbury Park Press, January 24, 2001
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