This post goes out to all of us who eat dinner while reading a book, surfing the internet, or watching TV. We all do it.
I’m currently doing a cleanse and have spent time making amazing, healthy meals. While I was prepping and cooking, I couldn’t help but think about all the times I’ve eaten great meals while I’m distracting myself with something else. You know what I’m talking about: TV, books or mags, email, and the rabbit hole that is social media.
I mean, I love living alone. I can listen to music as loud as I want to and I can do pretty much anything I want at any hour of the day. But for many of us, living alone presents some interesting barriers when it comes to eating. One friend catches up on her social media while she eats. And one of my nutritionist (!) friends even admits to not sitting down to eat; she eats while she tidies her house (!!).
This is what happens when we live alone. Sometimes it seems more exciting to focus on anything else than eating alone and our electronics can provide us with company. Unfortunately, this can put us out of tune with what we’re eating and can pave the way for overeating and weight gain. In fact, this is one of the most important tips that I give to my clients who are pressed for time and would like to lose weight.
Look at an animal when it’s eating – it has the focus of a ninja and enjoys every second of its meal. This is the way that we’re meant to eat, too!
Try this: for a week, to eat all your meals at a table (or breakfast bar if that’s what you have!). No distractions. Here are four benefits of eating at a table without distractions:
- It’s something special that we can do for ourselves. You’d put on music, set the table and light candles if a friend was coming over for dinner, wouldn’t you? Well, you can create this same ritual for yourself. When you do this, you are making your nourishment a priority. You are spending quality time with your #1, YOURSELF. Like getting to know someone, it can be hard at first (“what should we talk about?”), but it becomes easier. And it is worth it.
- It can relax us. Even if we’re super busy we can afford the time to eat. You may even find that taking the time with yourself is relaxing after a long day at work.
- We taste our food. This is a big one. How many times have we made a beautiful dinner for ourselves to then plunk down to eat in front of the TV, plate in hand. Even if you didn’t make the dinner that you’re eating, someone did. Eating at the table, away from distractions, allows us to truly savour the delicious flavours and enjoy the meal as it should be enjoyed!
- We end up eating less. When we eat food when we’re distracted, we can pile forkful upon forkful into our mouths without even noticing that we’re full. Ever done that? Eating at the table can pave the way for what is known as mindful eating. In his book, Savor, Thich Nhat Hanh says that, “mindful eating means simply eating or drinking while being aware of each bite or sip… [this] allows us to fully appreciate the sensory delight of eating and to be more conscious of the amount and nature of all that we eat and drink.” Here’s how to start: focus on the way the food looks, how it smells, eat slowly, take small bites, really try to taste each bite and chew thoroughly. You may find that you’re full before you know it, because you’re paying attention to the experience of eating the food and therefore the sensation of food in your body.
NOTE: music isn’t off limits. When I’m eating a healthy delicious dinner, for some reason I want to listen to Neil Young… especially his Live at Massey Hall album. Oh, to be a Canadian:)
Here’s to delicious meals with ourselves. And if you’re interested in my winter cleanse, check out a post I wrote for Innate Health Centre and come to my FREE talk on cleansing on February 7th!