It’s very easy to consume large amounts of food without even realizing it’s happening.
You could just be sitting at your home desk snacking while working and then all of a sudden realize the container of food that your hand has been going back and forth to is empty. How did that happen? Well, because you were not being cognizant of what and how much you were eating while you were multitasking, you might have consumed several hundred calories when you only meant to have a light snack. This is just one way that we eat mindlessly.
Another way people mindlessly eat is when they’re sitting down watching television. Because your focus is on the TV show or movie rather than enjoying the food that you’re eating and being mindful of how much you’re eating that snack can be much less satisfying and can come in a larger quantity than intended.
While we might be encouraged to multi-task in a lot of different areas of our lives—picking up the kids at school while trying to answer emails, etc—eating food is not one thing that we should add to that list.
One seemingly straightforward tip to avoiding mindlessly eating is making sure that when you consume food, whether it be a meal or a snack, that you take the time to do that. Sit at a table. Eat off of a plate. Just that second step alone can help you control how much food you eat rather than eating out of a container where the quantity may be difficult to judge.
And take your time while you eat. You don’t need to spend an hour eating dinner but you should savor your food and listen to your body as you’re eating. Am I feeling full yet? Do I need to finish everything on my plate to feel satisfied? It typically takes a person 20 minutes after they finish eating to feel fully satisfied or truly know that they are still hungry. So if we quickly pile a great deal of food into our mouths, we might have really been content after 10 bites even though we consumed the equivalent of 20 bites. Take stock of how you feel throughout your meal to know when you’re getting close to feeling full. Try to slow yourself down by eating with a baby spoon or fork or if you aren’t skilled with chopsticks, use those to eat.
Our society is certainly not geared toward taking things easy, especially in New York. We’re always on the go and have a lot of things on our plates. But when it comes to eating, let’s separate the stuff on our life plates from the food we put on our plates and use any time that we eat as a time to relax, reflect and enjoy what we’re eating.