Beck Diet Solution: Day 3---Eat only when sitting down
Saturday, March 03, 2018
On the surface this appears to be an easy and simple task to do. However, it is not only about sitting down when eating but also the fact that this is the behavior that signals to our brain that it is time to eat and time to focus on what we are eating and not anything else. Ah, then it becomes much more complicated than just 'plain' sitting. I think of the times when I/we are eating in a social event where there are a lot of stimuli surrounding us, grabbing our attention away from what we are eating. It could be that other people in the room are demanding our attention and so we are distracted from the task at hand. It could be that we are distracted by thoughts of what we will be doing after we supposedly finish with our meal or snack.
Anything or anyone that distracts us from what is front of us jeopardizes our ability to be aware, conscious and in 'control' of the meal in front of us. Absent minded eating can lead to us going on 'auto pilot' while we deal with the other distractions. What this does is rob us of our ability to enjoy the food in front of us and, quite often, we want more because we didn't taste what we did have. We 'cheated' ourselves out of the sheer enjoyment of the tastes and textures of the meal we have set before ourselves and when we feel 'cheated' we build resentment. More is never enough.
It doesn't help that most of us have such busy lives that putting our needs, any need for that matter, gets pushed down to the bottom of things we need to do. How many times have we said, "Let's grab a quick bite to eat." The implication is that we really can't afford to spend the time that is needed to enjoy what we eat. We must hurry. We must rush. We mustn't take time to 'savor the bite'. There was a time when I could eat a Big Mac (as an example; since that is three pieces of bread, two beef patties and assorted condiments) in 3 bites. I tasted the first bite. The others just disappeared down my throat. Once you are finished you look around and wonder, 'what happened to my sandwich?' It was just here a minute or so ago.
There are two good arguments in why we should practice always eating sitting down. The first one being is that it forces us to take the time to actually be aware of the food and our surroundings. The second being is that especially when we are on restricted calorie food plans if we gobble that food down (implying that we are ravished and we know that is usually not the case) we have missed the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy what food we are eating and usually as a result we go back for 'more' because we say we are still hungry. This can be one of the main reasons why some people overeat. They eat so fast they haven't allowed their body to 'catch up' and say 'I'm done, how about you?'
Eating while sitting down implies a 'time out' much like an afternoon nap can be. It implies that I need to pay attention to nourishing my body with some much needed fuel. It also is an opportunity to actually enjoy what I am eating. Most people, especially busy ones, scoff and say 'who's got time to relish what they eat? I haven't got time for that nonsense.' Well, okay but if you are wondering why you barely remember what you ate a half hour ago then maybe it is time to consider marking out a specific amount of time to eat so you can relearn to both enjoy the food you do eat but also remember that 'to every season there is a time and purpose for everything under the sun'.
There is a time and purpose for meal times and we do not need to be cheating ourselves out of the 3-5 times each day that we can quiet ourselves and enjoy the 'good bounty' in front of us. In fact it is also an opportunity to be grateful for what has been provided for us. It doesn't have to be a filet mignon for us to be grateful either. An apple, ripe from being picked at its peak, can remind us how blessed we are to have food when there are others who do not but wish they did. Very few of us who are reading this have actually known one full day without food, not by choice either (I know some food plans recommend some periodic fasting). If anything, we can be reminded at meal time that we of all people are blessed to have choices when there are others who do not.
So, take the time to sit down and eat. I know I need more practice in focusing more on the food I am eating than trying to read FB, the internet news or play an online game with one hand while using the other one to eat whatever I have prepared. Mindful eating is grateful eating. It is being thankful that your physical needs are being provided for on a regular basis. Being careless with what we are given is an insult to the Universe that provides for us. Let us sit down, take a deep breathe, look over what we have been given and enjoy the bounty.
The Universe is more than happy to give so we need to be more grateful to receive.