Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How do we eat?

     Do you stretch out with your plate in front of the TV watching your favourite show? Do you notice how much you pile on your plate? Have you ever been so engrossed by the idiot box that you look at your plate during the ad break and think 'who ate my dinner?' . 

     Whether it's the TV, a newspaper, magazine or even the internet - 'Mindless eating' as it is now termed [That's the name of a book authored by Brian Wansink, PhD, professor and director of Cornell Food and Brand Lab], has become the rule rather than the exception in many families. Even when you go to a restaurant - being more involved with the conversation going on rather than on your food leads to consuming excess calories - so if you think you're doing a great job on those business dinners - think again. How many of you surf the internet while eating? The impact of this inattention to what we eat is:
  • By being 'checked out' it's proven that we are more likely to put that unnecessary extra serving of food on our plates than if we were paying attention - these unnoticed extras, in turn, lead to gradual weight gain.
  • Even if you're trying to eat healthy, with your attention diverted - you will make unhealthy choices.
  • You don't enjoy what you're eating as much as when you're paying attention. Ever noticed when you're really hungry - food tastes much better somehow? It's because you're attentively relishing each bite and nothing else.
     How you eat your meals matters. One way of ensuring great digestion and absorption of nutritients is to sit down for a peaceful meal at the dining table. If you're at work where you've already got your whole meal in front of you and probably won't be adding more helpings, sitting with your colleagues in a quiet corner would work well. Putting your mobile on 'silent' mode during meal times is also a good idea. 

     Making peaceful small talk at this time is much preferred to argument [which decreases blood flow to the digestive system]. Use smaller plates, cups and spoons  - larger utensil sizes encourage larger portion sizes leading to unnecessary calories being consumed. Conversely, smaller dishes mean smaller portion sizes which leads to weight maintenance.

     So, in a nutshell - don't rush though your meals like you rush through your day. Relax, pay attention to what you eat and relish each bite. Eating this way leaves you satisfied. Your body will signal you to stop eating - pay attention to this cue - some of you may still have food on your plate when you notice this - stop anyway!

     Practice makes perfect. 


  1. Good info-something we all tend to forget when our favourite serials' are on the "idiot box"!

  2. Absolutely - writing this post itself was an eye opener for me, looking at 'how' I eat.

  3. Hey-how about dipping into your mom's recipe books and sharing some with us next?

  4. nice one.. we at office catch up with some really good political conversation and goes on for a while a real heated conversation... i suppoe that would be impacting as well

  5. will do Shweta! and Anjan - yup I guess the focus isn't on food during that time. But you can always be watchful of what you put on your tray in the first place so that at least you're not eating something unhealthy unknowingly. and maybe steer the conversation to peaceful topics ;)


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