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Food for Thought: Give your fingers a break and put the electronics down, at least while you eat. Use of technology may cause overeating

Robert Obst

Email:rcobst@radford.edu

Do you find yourself eating meals with your phone within an arm’s reach? Maybe your laptop is at your fingertips while you eat lunch. Do you watch TV during dinner? Or, do you sit on the couch while eating and watching TV?

You may be unaware that these practices are distracting to your meal. In fact, the need to “stay connected” could be causing you to eat more. With that said, it is important for everyone to practice “mindful eating.” This concept puts food first and the electronics of today’s media, along with all other distractions, on the backburner.

In today’s society everyone is very busy and wants to stay connected with work, social networking, the news and maybe a favorite TV show or two. However, during a meal is not the appropriate time for this type of activity. When it’s time to eat, it’s time to unplug and reconnect with your food. Paying your meal the attention of all five senses will give you greater satisfaction and may result in you eating less. This may occur because you are then able to listen to your internal cues of satiety without all of the modern distractions.

At one point in time, I know most of you have experienced this all-too-familiar moment. You sit down with your favorite snack in front of the TV, and when you look to the bag for more, it’s empty. This is a perfect example of what can happen when distracted while eating.

To practice “mindful eating,” first, all of the electronic devices need to be put away. They can wait 20 minutes or at least until you are finished eating. Second, if you are on the couch, find a table. A table is much more conducive to eating mindfully. Now, with the electronics away and you seated at a table, you are able to pay attention to your food. Since there isn’t anything distracting you, you can see, smell, taste and possibly even feel or listen to the food and your body, with minimal effort.

Eating should be an experience, a part of your daily life, not something you squeeze in between phone calls and commercials.
Give it a try. Put away the phones, computers, pads turn off the TV and sit at a table. You will be surprised how good it feels to eat without distraction.
So, “Food for Thought,” unplug and reconnect with your food. To your health!

Have a health topic you want addressed? Send your questions to rcobst@radford.edu and Robert will answer them. He just may turn it into next week’s column!