Distracted Eating

Thursday, May 24, 2012
I’m a distracted eater. For most of my at-home meals, you’ll find me propped up in my favourite chair watching whatever happens to be on TV at that particular moment. I’ve been doing it ever since I moved out on my own. Definitely not the recommended way to partake of a meal. You see, being distracted while I eat more often than not results in eating far more than I should. Not to mention eating far too fast. Without focusing on what I’m eating and savouring the food, I just shovel it in and before I know it, I’ve wolfed down an entire plate of food in five minutes. After a lifetime of distracted eating, it’s no wonder I’m more than a few pounds heavier than I should be. And it is by no means restricted to meals at home. At work, I usually eat at my desk while playing a game or watching videos. At the movies, the popcorn disappears before my movie’s half over. My waistline is not happy.

Experts have, for years, been telling us to turn off the TV/computer when we eat and, ideally, sitting down to a meal with family. Problem number 1: mom and I eat different meals at different times. It’s rare we eat “together” since our schedules are reversed (she works nights). Usually, we only “break bread” together when we’re dining out or when I make a nice Sunday dinner. However, there are still a few things I can do to slow down and enjoy what I’m eating.

Just a Sliver of Sunlight
Today, I began another little experiment (in addition to the slow and easy treadmill walking while watching mindless television). Rather than sitting in a comfy easy chair while staring at the television or playing on my laptop, I sat in the kitchen to eat my breakfast. In front of me, I propped up Hrothgar and read while eating. I didn’t lengthen my breakfast time a whole lot but I found myself absorbed in what I was reading and having to remind myself to continue eating that homemade egg muffin sandwich I was holding onto. Meal 1: minor improvement. 

Lunchtime! A couple of times each week, I try to have lunch with a couple of my coworkers. One has an office with a large window (great view!) and a table just big enough for the three of us so we pretend we’re at a little bistro as we chat and eat. Yes, we are that dorky. Anyways, they both had plans today so I was left on my own but didn’t want to sit at my desk and eventually get sucked into playing online crib or have someone assume I want to do actual work. So I headed over to our usual table, whipped out my lunch, turned on Hrothgar and settled in. My usual five minutes needed to consume a meal turned into approximately 25! Once again, more engrossed in reading than in eating. This never happened with an actual book…* Big thanks to Heather who posted this photo on Flickr which inspired me to eat and read. I think I need to “fancy up” my dining room table to make it more inviting. 

* Yes, I’ve become a superconvert to eReading. Using my beloved Kobo, Hrothgar, I read faster and more often than I used to. Now if only I could take him into the tub without the risk of dropping him…


Heather said...

I really do find that the ebook makes reading and eating much easier (and it's incredibly great for transit reading - much more compact).

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