How do you eat?

Prompt: Tell us how you eat: do you sit down to three meals, eat several small meals, or grab a granola bar on the run?

This was one of the prompts that caught my attention when I swiftly reviewed the list of daily prompts for May’s NaBloPoMo theme, mostly because it’s something I want to improve in my life.

Looking at my own eating habits, I have to cringe. I eat most of my meals in my car on the way to a job. When I’m sitting down to eat, odds are it’s at my desk and I’m working on the computer while I’m doing it. Even when I’m home to eat (maybe once or twice a week), I’m reading a book or email. The meal doesn’t always include vegetables, unless I’ve done a good job of planning ahead and cut them up the Sunday before or make a smoothie the night before. Sometimes, all it is a fruit and nut bar. Frequently, it’s take-out.

I’ve seen the positive results of actually sitting down for meals without the distractions of electronics. Last Christmas, I visited my parents and expected to gain weight over the week I was there. After all, I didn’t work out at all and I was drinking more than I usually do. But, to my surprise, that wasn’t the case. After looking back on my time there, I had to attribute this to the fact that we sat down to eat and talked to each other instead of watching TV or playing on a phone. It surprised me that such a small thing could make such a big difference. Other than not eating out, the meals weren’t that much different than what I would make for myself were I to make the effort.

Because my eating habits are mostly determined by my schedule, this isn’t something that’s easy to adjust. But it has made me more aware of what I do while I’m eating. It’s such a temptation to turn to a book or my phone because I nearly always eat alone, but I’m making an effort to put these things aside and just pay attention to what I’m eating. I read French Women Don’t Get Fat recently, and the author’s comments about paying attention to what you’re eating tied this all together for me.

This month, I’m not only looking forward to a vacation and seeing my family, but I’m looking forward to meals spent in the company of others, and not electronic gadgets. Hopefully this will help me to develop new habits of enjoying the food I eat and not just inhaling it on the way to the next activity.

What about you? Do you find yourself distracted during meal times?

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