Happy Friday everyone!! On Monday, I wrote about my beginning a journey to a simpler life, and my first assignment for myself was to eat more slowly and mindfully. I was shocked at what a difference eating more slowly made in my overall day! So, here is a bit of an explanation on why I wanted to focus on eating more slowly, and lessons learned from slow eating. Bon appetit!
Why focus on food?
To get started, I decided to focus on slow eating because it seemed like an easy first step. I also have to eat every day (at least three times!), so I could not forget about my goal. I know myself, and if I am not frequently reminded of goals I set for myself, I will forget to work on them. But, I never forget to eat (I tend to get hangry!!).
I created a set of rules to follow so that I could measurably determine if I ate slowly throughout the day or not. Here are the rules I came up with:
- Eat sitting down. This seems obvious, but I have a bit of a habit of eating while doing other things. So, I may be moving around and coming back to my plate to grab some food before doing something else.
- Do nothing but eat and converse with others. This means no cell phones!! Or books!!
- Have a drink with your meal. This may seem odd, but I am so bad about not drinking anything when I eat. I just forget because I’m scarfing down my meal to get onto the next task on my to do list!!
- If possible, cook more than a frozen meal. I am so guilty of doing this all the time, and the sodium of frozen food can just be sky high! This was more out of a desire to be healthier than anything else.
- Eat two slow meals per day.
How I Did
This challenge ended up being more difficult than I expected, especially because some different activities cropped up that have made me more busy than normal. I did eat slowly most days, but I slacked off here and there when I wanted to “chill” by being on social media or reading a book. Oops! Oh well, I didn’t expect myself to be perfect. I’ll get better as I go on!
One thing that I didn’t really follow through with is the frozen meals rule. I don’t eat lunch until after I get off work at one in the afternoon, which makes for a really late meal. So, I’ve been eating some frozen breakfasts to keep me full until then. I’m totally fine with that (because of the hangry thing).
Lessons Learned from Slow Eating
I have four main lessons learned from slow eating so far. They were not what I expected, but they were what I needed.
- Mealtime became a big stress-reliever for me. I may have a massive to do list or have various things going wrong, but, when I sit down to eat, I lay all of that aside for a little while. I could relax and chat with family or friends without worrying about work or social media or waiting emails or text messages. In the past I have had a bit of a problem with being a doer, so this gave me the opportunity to work on that aspect of myself and be content with sitting and not doing anything “productive.”
- The day passes more slowly when you pause to eat. This was so strange to me. I felt like I had extra hours in my day when I paused to eat!! Slow eating meant that I had at least two mandatory breaks in my day. These breaks allowed me to slow down and rest. That rest in turn made me more productive for the rest of the day!! When I missed these breaks, I felt like I had no control over my day, and it just flew by.
- I am way, way healthier when I eat more slowly. This is because I tend to eat less when I am focused on what I am eating, which is good for my health, and I pay more attention to what is on my plate and try to pick healthier options. Also, food just seems to taste better!
- I don’t mind eating alone. Like most “young folks” these days, I am never far from technology (especially because I work online!!). So, there are few times in the day when I am just alone with my thoughts. Eating alone gave me that time, and I truly enjoyed it. I ended up having a lot of new ideas for work, this blog, and about my life in general. I started keeping a notepad on hand so I could write down what I was coming up with as I ate!
Is slow eating a part of your life? How has it helped you slow down? What do meal times look like for you?