Are You a Distracted Eater?
Our world is so chaotic these days that it seems almost indulgent to take the time to eat without distractions. Distractions are normal and expected, especially as most of us spend most of our day multitasking, even when we eat – aka distracted eating.
What a lot of us don’t know is that distracted eating can actually cause us to overeat later on, but paying attention while eating a meal is linked to eating less. These findings have been reported in many studies, including one published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Eating mindlessly (or while distracted) can mean not tuning into our signs and signals that help us register fullness. The result is we tend to over eat at the time or later on, as we graze and snack on more foods in a search for satisfaction.
Are you a distracted eater? Do these sound familiar to you?
- Eating breakfast in the car on the way to work
- Eating lunch at your desk while working
- Eating dinner in front of the TV, or while on your phone
- Having important conversations while eating a meal
Although some of these situations are sometimes unavoidable and just a part of our busy lives, it’s important to try to create time for eating without distractions.
If you practice eating without distractions, you will recognise fullness and feel more satisfied with eating less. You may also notice other subtle signals or cues like noticing hunger, or noticing if certain foods don't agree with you (bloating, burping, light headedness).
Savouring meals with all their multi-sensory aspects also helps to eat more mindfully. Notice the taste, the aroma of the food, the different textures and of course the wonderful tastes!
When we eat slowly and without distraction, we often digest our food better too.
So there's plenty of reasons to notice if you are distracted eater and to see if you can instead plan to eat sitting down, chewing slowly, without distraction as often as you can.