Distraction Free Meals

One of my favorite parts of Weight Watchers 360 is the routines that we focus on each month. The one for May is particularly relevant for me – “Eat all your meals distraction free.”

This is something I majorly struggle with. I tend to eat my breakfast and lunch at my desk at work, and I’m almost always doing a million things in addition to eating, mostly checking or reading email. It’s been known to happen where I’ll make something for breakfast and while I’m focusing on anything but actually eating, I’ll go to reach for another bite and look down and my breakfast is GONE. I have to do a self check to remember that I did actually eat it, but just wasn’t paying any attention so can barely recall.

This is problematic for a number of reasons, but I think the biggest thing for me is that it takes so much away from the satisfaction I should be getting. Besides just filling my stomach and keeping away low blood sugar (and the inevitable crankiness that follows…) I also really do enjoy eating and try to fill my menu with things I actually like. So, if I am so distracted while I’m eating that I can barely remember that I actually ate, obviously I’m not enjoying what I’m eating or getting the satisfaction that comes from that.

I am a lot better about eating dinner distraction free (most of the time) because I’m eating at home and usually put a little more time or thought into preparing the food, so I tend to force myself to enjoy it a little more. So for me, I really want to focus on meals that I’m eating at my desk at work.

Eating any meal distraction free can be a real challenge if you work a busy job (or have kids at home, or fill in the blank…) so I think it’s really important to set realistic expectations. There is no way I can sit down at the table to eat those meals with no TV, computer, or phone, but what I can do is make a diligent effort to pay more attention when I am eating. I think the solution for me is to implement little ways that I can slow down my eating since I am a speed eater by nature, so even if I am slightly distracted while I’m eating, I’m doing it slow enough that hopefully at some point I’ll actually be in tune with what I’m doing.

Some ideas that I’ve come up with are:

  • Cut food up into smaller bites
  • Use smaller utensils (like condiment spoons or cocktail forks)
  • Make a habit of sipping water between each bite
  • Pick something to do while I’m eating that is less distracting than looking at my computer (any ideas?)
  • Bring in a placemat from home to use during meals, so the visual cue brings me back

In addition to the new routines with WW 360, there’s also an activity each week to pick one small thing you can focus on to change. It doesn’t necessarily have to be related to the routine, but I love breaking big changes down into little ones because it feels so much more doable. So my little change for this week is that I am going to work on cutting my food up into smaller bites for breakfast. I’ve been having an english muffin with peanut butter and a banana most mornings lately (because it’s easy and quick!), so instead of just having the halves of the english muffin, I’m going to cut them each up into quarters and see how that helps me be more in tune with the meal. We’ll see how it goes!

How are you with eating your meals distraction free? Which ones do you struggle with the most? Do you have any tips for minimizing distractions or slowing down while eating?



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13 Comments on Distraction Free Meals

  1. lisa fine
    May 20, 2013 at 8:45 am (1 year ago)

    I’m terrible about it. I have memories of eating breakfast while flipping through a magazine or book as a kid. And now I often eat breakfast in front of my computer, and I’m often reading while eating lunch or dinner. I try to turn push my phone away, but it’s hard. The best solution seems to be to eat with other people, where I can enjoy the food and conversation.

    Reply
    • Beth
      May 20, 2013 at 10:59 am (1 year ago)

      That’s a good point – eat meals with other people, especially when you have a story to tell so you’re doing more talking than eating!! :)

      Reply
  2. theshrinkingowl
    May 20, 2013 at 8:58 am (1 year ago)

    LOVE the new design. So clean!!!

    I am awful about eating my meals distraction-free. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I ate a meal without some sort of distraction, whether it was TV, reading a book, or the internet.

    Reply
    • Beth
      May 20, 2013 at 10:58 am (1 year ago)

      Aww thank you!! I’m really happy with it but still some tweaking to do.

      And I know. It’s funny how distracted meals are way more the norm than focused ones!

      Reply
  3. Lisa Eirene (@LisaEirene)
    May 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm (1 year ago)

    Eating while multitasking is easy to do (I am definitely guilty of it). I find that when I’m eating while doing something I eat FASTER. If I make myself slow down and put my fork down between each bite, it helps a lot.

    Reply
  4. Michelle
    May 20, 2013 at 12:58 pm (1 year ago)

    You can also try eating with your non-dominant hand. Often, this will slow you down because you’re not as comfortable with the motions and aren’t able to do it without paying some attention. Plus, you usually have to take smaller bites because it’s harder to balance whatever you’re moving toward your mouth…

    Reply
  5. Carrie
    May 20, 2013 at 1:09 pm (1 year ago)

    I’m eating lunch right now! :) I am always doing something else while I’m eating – I’d never be able to fit it in otherwise. There are three of us in the house and we all eat at different times. Now that the weather is nice, I find eating outside works really well.

    I eat at my desk every day. But I work for a small company that is kind enough to provide real dishes and silverware for our use. I’m working on making sure I use those instead of eating directly out of whatever container I toted my lunch in.

    We also have these really small spoons and I love to use those. It makes the meal last longer.

    Reply
  6. Heather
    May 20, 2013 at 3:58 pm (1 year ago)

    That is something I struggle with too, but I almost feel like eating and catching up with social media or the news is my form of relaxation. I enjoy it! I just try to make a really conscious effort to experience each bite and make sure I’m tasting my food and not just chewing and swallowing. I’ve also noticed that reading a magazine instead of going online slows me down b/c I’m engrossed in the articles.

    Reply
  7. suzanne
    May 20, 2013 at 4:13 pm (1 year ago)

    I have to admit this is a hard one of me! I’m always multi tasking.

    Reply
  8. Kristine Beeson (@kdlb)
    May 20, 2013 at 5:52 pm (1 year ago)

    I’m a new follower, and I wanted to tell you that this topic has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been trying to be mindful in all area of my life, and surfing the Internet while I eat is one of those things that I know is an issue I need to adjust! I don’t know if I would find time to participate in online groups and health blogs if it weren’t for doing it while I eat. Especially with eating small meals throughout the day (3 hrs), it takes a bit of time! I like the idea of cutting things smaller. When I’m making a shake, I’ve been trying to make it in my largest cup and add extra crushed ice. This makes it take longer to drink (even if I’m surfing!)

    Reply
  9. Robin
    May 21, 2013 at 12:50 am (1 year ago)

    I agree with Carrie – eating outside really helps me with focusing on just being present. It gets me away from the desk and computer at work or the laptop at home. It makes meals so much more satisfying!

    Reply
  10. Colleen
    May 21, 2013 at 9:11 am (1 year ago)

    Those are some great “do-able” ideas!

    Reply

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