Avoid Distraction at the Dinner Table

Ever inhaled your lunch at work while checking email, Facebook, or working on a report for your boss? In our hyper-connected world, I'm sure you've found yourself doing something similar. This distracted eating is a physique-ruining habit you need to break. How? Hara hachi bu.

It's a Japanese phrase which roughly translates to "eat until 80% full." So when helping someone get lean I ask them to say (or think) this phrase at the start of the meal. The purpose is that they eat until comfortably full, not stuffed.

This advice works on two levels:

  1. It helps them to eat less and reduce calories.
  2. It encourages mindful eating. Mindfulness helps people avoid going beyond what they really need, and actually helps them enjoy their food.

When you're distracted it's easy to over consume food without even noticing that you're getting full. Research proves this too. Studies show that people eat considerably more calories when dining in front of the TV. Mindful eating helps to address this.

It takes your mind about 20 minutes to receive the signals from your stomach that you're full. So eliminating distractions will help you slow down, increase awareness, and eat until you're satisfied, not stuffed. It also helps to prevent you from random cookie binges by encouraging you to eat at set times and with others, rather than snacking mindlessly on whatever's within reach.

A Recap of Mindful Eating

  • Eat slowly and without distraction.
  • Listen to your body's hunger cues.
  • Eat only until you're satisfied.
  • Eat with people, if possible, and at set times and places.
  • Distinguish between physical hunger and psychological triggers for eating.
  • Increase awareness by noticing sight, smells, sounds, textures, and tastes.
  • Eat to maintain overall health and well-being.
  • Understand the effects food has on your mood, energy, and physique.
  • Appreciate and enjoy food.

Related:  12 Little Changes for Big Gains

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