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4 Ways Distracted Eating Can Decrease Your Health

Distracted eating has become commonplace in this day and age. Not only can these elements have an impact upon the quality of the meal itself, but there are also some very real health consequences to take into account. Let us take a look at this topic in more detail so that you can detect any bad habits well in advance.

Distractions From Eating

The Importance of Remaining Concentrated While Eating

Do you tend to distract yourself from eating a tasty meal? This is actually more serious than you may initially believe. For example, concentrating on what is being consumed has been shown to provide a more pleasurable emotional experience.

Furthermore, distracted eating can cause you to consume a meal entirely too fast (such as if you are thinking about subsequent work that needs to be performed). You may therefore absorb fewer vitamins and minerals, leading to negative health effects of being left unchecked.

The Most Common Eating Distractions

Now that we have a basic understanding of why distracted eating should be avoided, let’s move on by listing a handful of the most common scenarios that might cause you to lose focus during a meal.

Eating While Watching Television

Eating While Watching Television

Eating in front of TV sets is a habit which many of us have adopted over the years. While this may indeed provide a viable source of entertainment, we tend to focus more upon the latest programs as opposed to what is found upon our plates (regardless of how tasty this food may be).

Reading While Eating

All of us enjoy devouring a good book from time to time. Unfortunately, this may cause us to sacrifice a healthy meal for the sake of the printed word. So, be sure to put that book down and to instead examine your meal in greater detail.

Using Your Phone While Eating

Using the phone while eating meals is arguably the most familiar situation, as the majority of us have become inextricably linked to the digital domain. Not only can this cause us to become distracted, but talking on the phone may even increase the hazards of choking.

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The Consequences of Becoming Distracted While Eating

Although all of the distractions mentioned above seem to be rather straightforward, the fact of the matter is that they can quickly evolve into habits which can be difficult to break. Let’s therefore examine some consequences of these actions.

You Eat Too Fast

If you’re in work mode, you’re most likely to be in the mindset of getting things done. The sandwich at your desk becomes another thing to get done. If you’re not paying careful attention, you’ll often find your sandwich is gone before you even noticed you were eating it.

Eating too fast will often lead to bloating and indigestion. This is even more relevant when scheduling meals within the workplace. As you are likely thinking about other concerns, a tasty meal could be gone within mere seconds.

You Cannot Remember What You Consumed or How it Tasted

Those who pay attention to other elements may not fully appreciate how the food itself tastes. This obviously detracts from what could have otherwise represented a satiating experience.

Distracted eating means you’re paying more attention to other things going on at the moment beside your meal. Did you ever have the experience of arriving at your destination without remembering the journey there? That surreal experience is duplicated when you eat without paying attention. What you actually ate, and how it tasted, go completely unnoticed.

Using Phone While Eating

You Tend to Snack More

Consuming food while distracted is one of the main causes of binge-eating. If you do not fully absorb the food, you will be more likely to snack on unhealthy items throughout the day. Over time, this can lead to negative health consequences such as high blood pressure, weight gain and even diabetes.

Since your meal didn’t fully nourish you, you may turn to food over and over during your day, in an attempt to get a hit of nourishment. Food can nourish you, but only when it’s eaten under relaxed circumstances. There’s nothing nourishing about gobbling down dinner while you watch a sports match.

The stress you feel when you’re wrapped up in the game (especially if your favorite team is losing) is going to make it harder for you to notice your meal, let alone digest it. So, you’ll be looking for more food when all you needed was to notice the food you ate in the first place.

You Feel Significantly Less Full and Satisfied

Finally, you will often feel less satisfied even after consuming the most delectable of meals. This is why it is a good idea to set aside at least 20 minutes for each session. Additionally, the chances are high that your portions will decrease by paying attention to how your body feels during the meal itself.

If you routinely eat one or more meals a day in a distracted way (for example – breakfast in the car on the way to work, lunch at your desk, dinner in front of the television), you’re not doing your body any favors.

Try taking at least 20 minutes to eat breakfast at a slower, more relaxed pace. Take a full lunch hour and leave your work space. Eat dinner with family or friends. If this is too much, make an effort to eat one meal a day in a more mindful way.

You’ll see that you will easily be able to cut down on the size of a meal by about 10-15%, just by paying closer attention to the food you’re taking in and the way your body feels as you reach the end of your meal.

Mindful Eating

Mindful Eating Through the Use of a Gastric Balloon

Whether referring to binge-eating distractions or devouring a meal only to feel bloated soon after, there are other options at your disposal. The Spatz3 adjustable gastric balloon can be used to reduce your cravings for food, and as a result, distractions from eating in general. Whether you wish to lose weight or simply to embrace a healthier lifestyle, professional help is only a phone call away.

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