I used to have a bad habit, a toxic behavior I developed when I was a teenager. Every time I sat down to eat, I grabbed a magazine or catalog to browse. I was often eating alone, by choice or by circumstance, and I’d sit there paging through the catalog while I mindlessly shoveled food into my face.
A couple of things happened every time I did this.
One, I often finished everything on my plate without really feeling like I’d eaten anything. “It’s gone already?” (Tell me if you can relate.)
Two, I plastered images of very thin, very airbrushed models all over my mind’s eye while I was attempting to nourish and feed myself. Hmm, conflict of interest much?
When I became aware of the negative effects of this distract-myself-while-eating behavior, I quit doing it. It was awkward at first, just sitting there with nothing but my food. I craved more stimulation. But I kept at it, looking for visual interest in the food itself, stopping for deep breaths periodically, noticing the way it felt to chew and swallow each bite.
A couple of things happened.
One, I was so satisfied after eating. I was shocked that I could eat pretty much the same amount of the same thing and feel twice as full. In fact, sometimes I could even leave a few bites on the plate because I’d truly had enough. (This was fucking revolutionary.)
Two, I felt so much more connected to what I was eating, where it came from, and the process it had been through to make its way onto my plate. I found gratitude for my body and the way it miraculously transformed the delicious morsels I was enjoying into physical and mental energy for my life.
In this over-busy world we live in, the temptations are greater than ever to eat while you scroll, browse, watch, read, drive... But just eat. Especially if you’re someone who struggles with food, body image, or digestion. Just eat. See what happens for you.