The other day I was trying to wrap up at work and get home to be with my family so I ate a snack while typing notes and sending emails. I went to grab another bite and my snack was gone. I didn't even remember finishing it. I had eaten mindlessly and wasn't connected to my body at all. I knew why it happened and could see the irony that it's exactly what I tell clients not to do.
It was a useful reminder that we all eat mindlessly sometimes, and it's important to have compassion for ourselves when it happens.
I'm also realistic that not everybody can eat mindfully all the time. And that sometimes eating while multitasking is better than not eating anything at all. Never has that been more apparent to me than since I had my son. Right after he was born my husband and I would eat dinner in shifts while the other one watched the baby. And now even though we can both sit at the table with him in his highchair I am still managing his needs while I eat, so my eating isn't very mindful. I do try to check in with my body between bites though. And I really savor the times I can eat mindfully by myself.
I often wonder what it would be like to live in a culture where we all slowed down and worked fewer hours and had more time to sit down for meals to truly enjoy them. I picture people in France sitting outside at a bistro sipping wine and slowly enjoying their 3 course meal, savoring every bite. Or someone in a kitchen lovingly preparing a meal that feeds the body and soul. Do I personally want to spend that much time in the kitchen, no, but I can appreciate a meal cooked by someone who did. If we all slowed down and were more mindful throughout the day (not just with food) I suspect we'd all be less stressed.
So how about the next time you eat, do it mindfully. Stop what you're doing, sit down, savor every bite. Notice how your body feels. Give yourself permission to eat as much or as little as you need.