It’s now been 21 days since I’ve sat down in front of the TV and ate. And … it was hell. The first meal I had was breakfast (duh). I sat down in the morning in complete silence, awkwardly (somewhat) enjoying my omelette. It was weird. Then lunch came — same thing. My only company was three little furry shih-tzus and a giant 20-pound cat staring at me, waiting for my food to miss my mouth. I knew this was going to be a challenge as I have always eaten in front of the TV, but dang, it was hard! So what did I take away from this after this lonely 21 days?
First off, I totally ate less. I started listening to my hunger more and ate for the nourishment more than the enjoyment. I so dreaded the thought of sitting at that darn kitchen table again that I didn’t eat until I knew I was hungry. Snacking also became less frequent. I felt like I put more thought into my food choices as well, as opposed to hurrying to the pantry on a commercial to find the most convenient thing. My mom and dad joined in, too. As a family, we sat down at the kitchen table every night and had conversations as opposed to being glued to the TV. It was wonderful!
In my first post, I stated I would have absolutely no distractions. But I have to be honest, I wavered on that just a tad. Sometimes I would read something or get on the computer, but I really didn’t feel as though this hindered my meal like the TV does. So the idea of absolutely no distractions is maybe a bit of a stretch, but I would encourage you to give this 21-day challenge a go. I lost a few pounds along the way, and I also realized how much more I eat when mindlessly watching TV. Here are a five tips to consider when starting this challenge.
5 Tips to Eat More Mindfully — and Away From the TV
1. Learn to be alone with your thoughts, and love it. As I mentioned, it was awkward sitting there in silence by myself, but at the same time, I came to realize that I never really get much quiet time alone. It was quite blissful at times. It’s okay to not have distractions and to not constantly be occupied with more than one thing at once. In today’s world, we are master multitaskers. Our brains are constantly going, and sometimes it’s refreshing to take a moment to breathe and focus on one task.
2. If you are tempted to watch TV, don’t! It really is that simple. It was so tempting to watch TV so many times — especially at night. I was so proud of myself at the end of the 21 days though and not to mention, the few pounds lost was a total plus. They say it takes 21 days to break a habit. I have found after the 21 days that television is no longer a trigger to go grab a bite to eat. I can now watch TV without that temptation.
3. Be aware. Are you really hungry? If you’re not hungry and just bored, find something else to occupy you! I found myself being more productive and actually getting stuff done. Woot, woot!
4. Enjoy your food. I mentioned how I came to find that I was eating more for the nourishment, not the enjoyment when eating in front of the TV. But at the same time, you must enjoy what you are eating. Taste your food. Enjoy it. Savor every. last. bite.
5. And finally, ask yourself these two questions: “Am I using this food, or am I eating this food?” and “What am I really hungry for?”
Take the 21-day challenge and tell us how it worked for you! Did you find yourself eating less? Do you have any tips? What did you discover during and after the 21 days? —Erika