“Too many people eat to consume calories. Try dining for a change.” John Walters
I often eat lunch at my desk while working, will have a book to read or, if dining alone at home, I’ll eat in front of the TV.
In fact, last night I did something that I very seldom do. I sat in front of the TV with a bowl of chips. I know that for many people this is a common occurrence, but it isn’t something that I do. But there are millions of people who do the same.
All of these eating situations seem innocuous enough. However, I’ve discovered that more often than not, two things happen. First, I’m not really savoring my food. In fact, I’m not even aware of what it is that I’m eating. Second, I’m not paying attention to the signals that tell me I’ve had enough so I’ll often overeat. That’s bad.
Before television and the technology explosion, people sat at the dinner table and dined together. Today, this is seldom the case. I think we do ourselves a great disservice by not paying attention to what we eat. Perhaps this is why we’re willing to eat junk or fast food even when we find it not really tasty. Being distracted means we’re less likely to notice the crappy flavors and textures.
Years ago I was on Weight Watchers and one thing I’ll always remember was being told: “If the food doesn’t rate an 8 or more on a scale of 1 to 10 in flavor and enjoyment, then stop eating it.”
You may argue that you really LOVE the junk or fast food. What you may be overlooking is how you feel afterward. Are you energized, charged and ready to tackle anything? Are you sluggish, want to eat more or want to rest and nap?
If you’re one of the millions who eat at your desk or with distractions I would suggest the following:
Make eating a meal an occasion. Turn off all electronics. The world won’t come to an end over the next 30 minutes. OK. I’ll allow whatever piece of electronics that will let you play some background music.
Set aside all reading materials – hard copies and electronic.
Look – really look – at your food. What are the colors and textures?
Smell – inhale the aroma. Are the salivary glands kicking in? If not, is this really what you want to eat?
Taste – savor your food. Take a bite, let it sit on your tongue for a second or two, then chew and swallow. Mmmm!
Taking the time to dine lets you be aware of the quality and quantity that you eat.
Become a better version of yourself. Start by eliminating the distractions when you eat. Focus on how you feel after a meal. Then choose the foods that leave you feeling great and cut back on those that leave you feeling flat.
Good luck kicking your distraction eating habit.