One of the strategies we discuss in our Mindful Eating class is to reduce multi-tasking while eating. All too often we may find ourselves doing a host of other things while we eat. Very common activities are:
- watching TV
- using a computer
- talking on the phone
- feeding children
- sorting mail, paying bills
Multi-tasking while eating can be distracting enough that it may cause us to:
- eat things we don’t like
- eat things we are not in the mood for at the moment
- get little or no enjoyment out of foods that we do like
- eat when we are not hungry, especially if we begin to associate the activity with food – this can create habit-based cravings for food
When we discuss separating certain activities from eating, sometimes I can see that certain individuals are uncomfortable with that idea. Perhaps the notion of eating breakfast at a restaurant alone without the morning paper for “company” sounds lonely, or the idea of eating dinner in silence alone at your dining room table sounds like punishment. If that’s the case, ask yourself if the activity is really a problem or not. If you can glance at the paper and eat a meal and it does not cause any of the problems listed above, why mess with it? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There are probably other eating patterns or habits that we’d be better off focusing on.
I would suggest this philosophy with any piece of advice we receive. A strategy that works for someone else may not for you. A habit that must be changed for one person, may not be a big deal for you. Choose your “battles” wisely and focus on the most pressing issues first.