I have discovered I am a horribly distracted eater.
I bet you might be too.
I had no idea, but it is true. I used to berate my poor husband. “Sit down, stop eating over the sink, don’t eat so fast.” Well, talk about a pot. Seems I need to follow my own advice.
As part of the yoga training I am currently undertaking, we are challenged to eat mindfully. This includes several tenets:
- remain seated
- no conversation while chewing
- while eating, minimize external distractions
- wait until food is completely chewed, and swallowed, before preparing your next bite
- put just two handfuls of food on your plate at a time. Finish it and wait several minutes before getting more.
- wait ‘til food is completely digested (two to six hours) before eating your next meal.
When these principles were presented, I thought “no problem.” That’s what I usually do. Well, was I wrong! I am an eating multitasker. I type, read, make the kids’ lunch, clean the counters, brew coffee, do laundry, fetch drinks, assist with homework, sweep, open mail, feed the dogs, clean the fishtank, answer the phone, shower and drive – all while eating. In fact, the things I don’t do while eating are focus and be aware. I rarely sit – well at the table, more like at the computer or in my car. I talk away – telling my kids to brush their teeth or hair. The tv, books, magazines, computers and cell phones are always near by. Not preparing another bite before eating – whoa, is that hard! Two handfuls of food – when you are eating rabbit food, that doesn’t cut it (of course, the ½ jar of peanut butter and cup of vegan chocolate chips should be enough). Waiting 2 to 6 hours…hmmm, sometimes, if I’m stuck in a foodless place.
From day one (7 weeks ago) I have tried to fit in just one of these mindful meals daily, and have found it nearly impossible. I even tried to tackle each tenet one at a time – nope, no success. I am still trying, but can’t even bring myself to journal about it because – well, I have completely failed.
I think it is a symptom of a bigger problem. To put it mildly, I am overextended – as are many of us are – and I really don’t feel like I have time to eat. The reality is – I probably don’t have time to eat everything I want to, but I have time to eat enough to get by just fine. It’s a habit — plain and simple. Habits are hard to break.
So, if awareness is the goal, I am now brutally aware of my multitasking habits. The next step, to face it head on. Every week of this training, I swore I would address it – but as the weeks pass by, my multitasking continues. So here it is now, I will no longer multitask and eat. I may not spend 30 minutes eating, but I will at least remove distractions, sit down and chew completely. Starting tomorrow. I have to finish these pretzels first…you think I’m kidding.