So what is your mealtime like? What kind of environment are you in when you eat your food? Is the TV on, are you watching a game, or working at the computer as you eat? Research has shown that when we are distracted or in a disruptive atmosphere, we eat more fatty and unhealthy foods. When a person is in a crowded place such as a boisterous restaurant or party, the brain did not process food signals the same way that it would if the person were at home in their nice quiet home. Loud talkers, unruly children and loud music are enough to keep me away from most restaurants as one’s peace is compromised often times when eating out.
In the more quiet and sedate environment, the brain would send a signal saying that you are now full. Distraction plays a big key about how mindful we are when we are fueling our bodies. Those who eat in front of the TV set or while sitting at their desk working on their computers are more likely to over eat, and research has shown that while being distracted, the food seems duller! If the food seems duller, than you aren’t going to enjoy it, and may eat too much of it in search of feeling fulfilled. When are distracted and interrupted, you will probably feel aggravated rather than satisfied. And as I have learned this, I am shaking my own head when I think of the hundreds and hundreds of lunches I ate at my desk at work. In retrospect, my colleague was smarter than I, she would prepare her lunch and then retreat to her car to eat it.
One should seek a pleasant atmosphere while eating. This must be difficult for those with young families, but children should be taught how to act at the table to help instill both good habits and manners. Turn off TVs, radios, and if necessary, turn the ringer to OFF during your meal. Remember, that is what voice mail is for! Strive for pleasant dinner conversation and again good dining manners to make the meal more pleasant and not upsetting for your stomach. This way you can concentrate on enjoying your food and savoring it, to make sure that you receive the messages from your brain that it is time to stop. Remember, it takes 20 minutes for this message of fullness to be transmitted, so slow down and chew your food.
It is comical that eating while distracted or in a disruptive atmosphere is my topic for today. As far back as my flight attendant days, I have come to loathe anyone talking at me while I am trying to eat my food. This is a big difference in having someone talk at you and from having a pleasant dinner conversation. Today, I was at the table trying to eat my lunch. My meal was a salad with tons of raw veggies and some fruit and there was a lot of chewing involved. The food was delightful, but the quality of my experience was tainted because my senior Dad sat down and began to chatter incessantly about anything and everything and then he turned his comments to crime, a topic which turned my stomach further. When he isn’t doing that, he has the TV turned up ultra-loud with shows that destroy a peaceful spirit.
We live in such a busy world, and it is easy to forget some of the good practices in regards to food. And because of the high distraction levels that life seems to bring, we have to become aware of things that we need to change and then make it a point to make those changes. Even if you eat your meals on the run, try to get have at least one meal a day where you can find some quiet, get to yourself so that you can relax and savor your meals. Not only will it will do wonders for your peace of mind, I bet you will eat less and make better food choices, develop better habits, and I suspect your digestion system will like it too!