A friend confessed to me that dynamite was the only solution to her problem. No, she’s not planning a bank heist. And, no she doesn’t moonlight as a coyote chasing a roadrunner. She’s just a mom who wants to blow off about 7 pounds. Sound drastic? That’s what frustration does. It points us toward drastic solutions. Instead, let’s simplify. Looking at studies regarding distracted eating can reveal simple solutions.
Put down the dynamite.
We’ll start by looking at your innocent lunchtime ritual.
I get it. You work hard. You deserve a break. Restoring your energies with a mindless game of solitaire on your iPad while you eat your lunch is justified, right? But, think about this — where is your focus when you eat? Could distracted eating be a problem?
We’ve discussed WHY we eat here before. Check out my post, 50 Reasons to Eat! Today, however, we’re discussing WHAT we do when we eat. In other words …
Does it matter what you pair
with your pear?
Apparently, it does.
As reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a British study showed that playing a computer or tablet game while you eat lunch not only affects how much you eat, it also has an effect on what you eat later in the day.
The study reported these important findings:
- MORE biscuits (BTW, that’s cookies for those of us in the U.S.!) were consumed by those who were distracted than for their non-distracted counterparts.
- Distracted participants reported feeling LESS full than their non-distracted counterparts.
- Distracted participants had poorer recall for how much they’d eaten, and therefore ate MORE later on in the day.
Do these findings concern you? I actually mean that in two ways. Do they apply to you and do they make you think?
If so, don’t worry. This isn’t about ditching your iPad.
The tendency for distraction also relates to computers, TVs, and music. Even those distracting dancing kitten videos on YouTube.
I wouldn’t ask you to give that up.
Instead, we need to apply a different focus to the problem. Here’s your big tip off — needing a break, isn’t the problem. We do need breaks. And, mindless activities can actually prove soothing and beneficial.
So, what’s the solution?
We need to choose WHERE we place our focus. If we’re taking a break by doing something mindless, then that’s our focus.
Conversely, when we eat –
that should be our focus.
Eating with mindfulness (rather than mindlessness) places our focus onto the taste, texture, temperature, flavor, and intrinsic characteristics of the food we’re eating.
Mindful eating leads to higher levels of enjoyment, satiety (feeling satisfied), and awareness of feeling full and “finished.”
Can you see how this alone can lead to changed behaviors around eating? Who knows, those stubborn 7 pounds may drop off without much effort. ( A dynamite-free, no-explosives-needed approach).
Have you ever noticed that you eat more when you’re distracted? Do you have tips to share? Please join in the conversation below!