Wait, Did I Just Eat Lunch?
Poor lunch; it gets no respect. We eat it without paying any attention while sitting in front of a computer at work, trying to be more efficient and productive.
We need to pay at least as much attention to HOW we eat as we do WHAT we eat.
There is something fundamentally dissatisfying about eating this way. You’re distracted, you’re eating mindlessly. Before you know it, the little Tupperware containers you packed from home are empty and you’re asking yourself, “Wait, did I just eat lunch?”
What a letdown.
Not only should all of your food be a) healthy AND b) delicious, but ALSO c) you should eat it in a way that is satisfying, thoughtful and relaxing.
Oh, I know. I already fessed up that sometimes I eat standing up, TV blaring, shoveling food into my mouth as fast as I can just before I race out the door. True, true, true. But I try not to make a habit of it.
Ideally we pay attention to what we’re eating, taking in the pleasure of the sights, smells, tastes and textures of our food.
Weight loss is more than a “calories-in-calories-out” formula.
I am convinced that our eating experiences need to be pleasurable, not just nourishing.
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So yes, you will probably be eating different foods than you have been, but you may also find that it helps to be more attentive to your environment.
Sitting in front of your computer answering emails isn’t gonna do it. Neither is eating food that was passed out through a drive-thru window while sitting in your car. This kind of eating is dissatisfying on a fundamental level; therefore we end up chasing that elusive sense of satisfaction by eating more. Or perhaps too soon afterwards.
How many times have you finished lunch at your desk and been hungry again by 2 o’clock? It happens all the time! If our dining experience is dissatisfying we keep searching for gratification. If we don’t get it at lunchtime then it’s tough to ignore the vending machine’s call an hour or two later.
I’m a big fan of soup for lunch, and here’s why: I can’t eat it mindlessly. I have to put it into a bowl and heat it up. Then, it’s hot, right? So I can’t eat it fast. I can’t eat it one-handed and I certainly can’t eat it while driving! It requires time and attention.
Soup is also an easy food to portion control. Whether you’re eating from a can (yes, there are plenty of great ready-made soups) or ladling up from a pot of homemade soup, it’s easy to keep portions, and therefore calories, in check. I can whip up one of my favorite low-fat, high-protein soups (recipes are available in my free downloadable eBook “Soup’s On!”) on the weekend and have lunch covered for the week.
But there’s also something deeply gratifying about lingering over a bowl of soup. I eat my Spicy Black Bean soup nearly every day for lunch, slicing up some avocado to go on top. The addition of this healthy fat gives my soup a rich mouth-feel and makes it especially enjoyable – and just slightly decadent.
Obviously not everybody’s a soup-a-holic like me, nor is it always feasible to eat soup for lunch. In Thursday’s blog I’ll give several non-soup ideas for healthy, low-fat, reasonable-calorie lunches.
In the meantime, look up from your computer screen long enough to savor your lunch.
Meet a friend. Get some fresh air. Go take a walk. Better yet, go for a run.
Whatever you do, take a break from your work and give yourself permission to really enjoy lunch. If you do you’ll probably find that you have renewed energy and focus for your afternoon’s work, as well as a sense of satisfaction that will keep you humming along for hours.
Losing weight is hard, but it gets easier when you take time to savor your food. And you’re so damn worth it!
Let’s go get it!