mindless eating can improve your health

Guess what? I found a way to use one of my worst habits to my advantage. I wish I could tell you I’ve discovered chocolates that made me skinnier, but that’s not it. I’ll wait while the disappointment sinks in…

… What actually happened was that I read French Women Don’t Get Fat, a book I enjoyed and recommend. One point especially hit home: most Americans do not savor food; we inhale it. Satisfaction depends upon engaging in the experience of eating, from looking at the food, spacing it out one course at a time, noticing flavors and textures, and, of course, supplementing it all with wine.

There’s far more than that in the book, but it got me thinking about how often I do other things while eating. I might read, make a shopping list, walk around the house, watch a show on Hulu, or whatever, but I am basically ignoring the food I’m eating. That’s bad if it’s cheese curds. But what if…

nectarine slices and water carafe on desk next to open laptop

The other night I cut up two nectarines and heaped the slices in a bowl. I went upstairs by myself and watched “Samantha Who?” and I ate–all.the.fruit. Me, who normally stares down a nectarine (or whatever) all morning and finally at 2 o’ clock thinks guiltily, “I really should eat something healthy today,” mindlessly inhaled two of them in one sitting, no sweat. This demonstrates to me that when I discover a powerful phenomenon—in this case, the power of mindless consumption—if I can just figure out how to leverage the power in my favor, I’m a winner, not a victim!

P.S. That’s lemon water in the picture, in case you were worried about my tap.