Tame Your Mindless Eating Habits
Tame Your Mindless Eating Habits
Whether it’s downing lunch at your desk, regularly making Netflix your dinner date or just looking down to find yourself holding an empty bag of potato chips, mindless eating is a problem for many of us. Here’s how you can finally get more focused on your food.
Karen Robock

IF YOU’VE EVER POLISHED OFF AN entire box of cheese crackers without warning or found yourself at the bottom of a tub of ice cream but can’t quite remember how you got there, you’re not alone. “I hear from a lot of clients that they drink a glass of wine at night or eat a bowl of chips while watching TV, but they are trying to lose weight or manage their cholesterol or diabetes,” says Adrienne Ngai, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator in Vancouver. “I ask them why [they made those food choices] and they say ‘It’s just part of my routine – it’s what I do.’ They’re mindlessly eating because they’re so used to the habit.”

In our culture of scrolling screens and non stop schedules, it’s easy to forget to make time just for food. Thinking through breakfast, lunch and dinner, making our meals nutritious and eating consciously – taking in the smells, flavours and textures, as well as the company – can often seem like too big of a task. But as a result, we’re overeating, consuming too much of the wrong foods and missing out on the joys of eating. Luckily, more mindful eating doesn’t have to be difficult, and the rewards are well worth it. Here’s how you can learn to eat with intention.

UNPLUG AT DINNERTIME

If you’re prone to mindless eating, you need to stop serving your meals with a side of screen time. Studies show that we tend to consume as much as 25 percent more calories when we’re dining with a smartphone, tablet or TV screen. According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, distracted diners tend to not only eat more when they sit down to Netflix and supper (compared to those who don’t eat in front of a screen) but also eat more later on in the day or evening.

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October/November 2019