We all know the feeling of having arrived at a frequently visited destination and having little to no recollection of the drive there. Does this ever happen to you with food?
How many times have you looked down at your empty dinner plate and wondered where your mind was when you were eating your meal? Most of us live in a constant state of “eating and…”: eating and watching television, eating and driving, eating and helping kids with homework, eating and completing a work assignment. When we engage in this “eating and…,” we are usually so absorbed in the other activity that we lose awareness of the eating experience completely.
This “eating and…” is formally called mindless eating. Mindless eating is our culture’s faulty solution to increasing efficiency and saving time. However, we are paying a price for this multitasking. Research clearly shows that we eat more and make poorer food choices when we fail to take that 15 minutes and do nothing else besides eat.
There is a relatively easy antidote: mindful eating. Mindful eating is a set of strategies that helps people eat less, feel fuller, and experience greater satisfaction with their food. These are particularly useful for those wanting to shed a few pounds and for people who struggle with binge eating or food addiction. Here’s how to get started:
Try these steps during your next meal, and pay attention to whether your experience of eating changes for the better. Sacrifice those few minutes saved during “eating and…,” and you’ll shrink your waistline, increase your appreciation of food, and enhance your awareness of what you choose to put in your body.