In today’s modern household, family mealtime is often tainted with intermittent text message alerts, work-related phone calls, and snippets of old Friends episodes blaring in the background. But a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition will change the way you think about this seemingly harmless habit of “distracted eating.” According to the researchers, engaging in activities like watching TV, answering emails, and driving while eating can actually cause you to eat more—leading to potential weight gain over time.
Fortunately, a few simple lifestyle changes can reintroduce the concept of mindful eating into your home. According to Larissa Hall Carlson, a yoga teacher and Ayurveda expert at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, being present while you eat can lessen digestive issues, lower caloric intake, and make for a more relaxing meal. This requires slowing down, paying attention to your surroundings, and noticing the tastes, flavors, and textures of your food.
But cutting out the distractions of day-to-day life requires a bit more legwork. Carlson recommends shutting down all technological devices, snagging a comfortable seat at the table, surrounding yourself with good company, and breathing deeply before mealtime. Doing so will enable you to savor your food and enjoy your meal. In the words of Carlson, “Slow down. Chew thoroughly. Feel nourished.”
How do you engage in mindful eating? Share your tips below and shop this book to learn more about this important practice.