mindless eating

[This week’s theme is eating habits.]

For most of us, it seems, eating is something that we do without thinking much about it.  We might think about what we want to eat, but the act of eating it is not mindful.

Take, for example, popcorn during a movie.  Are you thinking about the popcorn as you watch the movie, or are you thinking about the movie?  Are you eating because you’re hungry?  Then why are you eating popcorn?  (If you want to be horrified at how many calories you put into your body via movie snacks, Google “calories in movie theater popcorn” and read some of the results…)

Even at mealtimes, many of us eat without noticing.  That sounds silly — how can I eat without noticing? — but eating is so much a part of our lives that we don’t need to think about it … so we don’t.

Eating mindfully has two parts.

1- Eat at the table.  Not on the couch.  Not at the computer (guilty!).  Not in the car.  Not at the theatre.  When you’re eating while doing something else, you are unaware of your eating.  If you are eating out of a container that is more than one serving (such as a bag of chips), you will overeat.

2- Notice the food when you’re eating it.  Notice how it feels, how it tastes.  You eat food that you like, right?  Savor it.  Enjoy it.

Both of these tie in with tomorrow’s post as well.

I am on the “many small meals/snacks per day” plan.  As a teacher, I don’t always have time to sit down and savor every bite that I eat, especially if I am going to eat four or five times during the school day.  I will sit as often as possible, but I do frequently multi-task.

If you are an on-the-go-er, choose your foods wisely so that you can’t overeat.  For example, my snacks at work on a regular basis are:

  • an apple
  • a banana
  • a container with one serving of raw almonds and craisins (dry cranberries)
  • snap peas
  • a Zone bar (at some point, I’m going to phase these out for something less processed)
  • plus whatever I’ve brought for lunch (which, when eating with others, invariably brings, “Is that all you’re eating?”)

Try it.  First, see if you can notice when you are eating mindfully and when you aren’t.  Then adjust to be mindful more often.

What did you notice?  Did it work?

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I heard one tip for helping with this is to not bring the whole bag of chips with you while you watch the bachelor, the news, or the office! That way you don’t just amnesiatically eat that whole bag–at which point once the bag is empty you think about it and regain consciousness and are frustrated with yourself just for eating the whole bag haha!

    • Yes! I would suggest not to bring any chips with you, but if you must, definitely don’t bring the whole bag!

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