Eating should be synonymous with a sit-down meal, not a multitasking moment.
By Lana Christian
A lot of us are getting fat without eating.
You read that and say, “Nah!”
But it’s true. It’s an internal wiring problem. Something short-circuits between our heads and our hearts.
A lot of us ARE getting fat without eating.
Why? Because the way we define “eating” and the way we actually eat are often two radically different things.
Close your eyes and think “eating.” What comes to your mind? Likely a mental image of sitting down at a table, in the comforts of your home or in a restaurant – preferably with family or friends, and enjoying a meal. Maybe bowls of food are passed. You ladle out a reasonable portion; while enjoying the food and conversation. When you finish what’s on your plate, you’ve eaten.
That leaves a lot of “non-eating” ways that we deal with food.
The first is what my husband calls “carving.” When I see that a row of cake is cut unevenly, I carve off that errant edge. This is often done surreptitiously, and always on the run. Stealth and being in motion are contrary to eating. So this is “non-eating.” A first cousin to this is the diminutive “I-only-want-a-taste” slice.
Here’s another non-eating technique: picking the raisins out of oatmeal cookies. Sorry, sweetie; eating raisins out of six cookies still constitutes food and calories.
We all have tried true ways of non-eating:
– Eating a protein bar does not constitute eating.
– Tasting while cooking or baking does not constitute eating.
– Consuming mini-food (hors d’ouvres) does not constitute eating.
– Grabbing free samples at the grocery store does not constitute eating.
– Sampling the goodies that someone brought to work is politeness, not eating.
– Drinking my meal (even an extra-large mocha caramel latte) does not constitute eating.
– Consuming a whole package of anything less than 300 calories does not constitute eating.
What’s common to all these scenarios? Four things:
1. We’re on the go.
2. We’re (probably) not sitting down.
3. We don’t have food on a plate.
4. We’re not giving undivided attention to the activity of eating.
If you’re single, you may be saying, “Like when do I sit myself down and feed myself like that?” That’s for you to decide. The point is, when we’re not intentional about saying, “NOW I’m going to do nothing but eat,” then our heads never register that we did it. Our stomachs don’t, either. Instead, our bodies say, “Something’s missing!” Then we feel free to do more non-eating, or we opt for a real meal – after several non-meals.
So reserve multitasking for other parts of the day. True eating requires single-mindedness.