I almost ate a whole bag of cracker chips or don't eat alone while looking at your phone

I came home a little late from work after picking up my car (I had a flat tire on the way into work) to sick kids and an injured and exhausted wife.  I made dinner and sat down to eat by myself. It was a delightful prosciutto and blue cheese whole-wheat baguette sandwich with a salad. I ate it quickly while reading articles on Hacker News.

Prosciutto sandwich

I was still feeling hungry because I didn’t pay attention while I was eating (being mindful) and ate too fast.  I went to the cupboard for something and found these:

Zesty Lime Tortilla

12 crackers for 90 calories is a pretty good deal, so I ate 12 while reading more articles and then ate almost the whole bag – at least 500 calories worth, all without really realizing I had.   I still had a great eating day overall, but wow this snuck up on me. I felt uncomfortably full and had to work through feelings of guilt and gluttony.

I would love to hear strategies and advice that helps you to eat mindfully, or tricks that you use to stop the train to eating too much once its left the station.

3 Comments

  1. Hi Paul,

    Great journey! Mindful eating is something that I too struggle with, and one thing I’ve learned is not to beat myself up over the fail, but to praise the good, and look for tactical ways to prevent it from happening again. It was only a bag cracker chips and not Doritos or worse!!
    After dinner I try and eat a piece of fruit, something you have to peel or cut up. Takes some time to let yourself get full from dinner and a healthier alternative to more carbs.
    Hope that helps!!

  2. Agree with all of John’s comments! Especially the water, and not doing anything else when eating (such as reading – and I am SO guilty of this!).
    Another trick is to put down your utensils between bites.
    The tip about never eating from the bag is a great one – that avoids the unconscious hand/bag/mouth routine!
    Paul, you are doing so well, and I am very proud of you.
    Hope the family is feeling better.
    Don’t let this get to you – consider eating as being on a dimmer switch – sometimes it’s full light and sometimes we turn it down a little and eat a little more than we should, however we can always turn that dimmer switch back up. We can never turn it right off (fail), there is always a little trickle of light and all we need to do is turn it up again by getting back on track.

  3. Great share Paul! It sounds from your description of this experience, like you already know what you need to do around eating mindfully, putting the phone down, etc. But a few thoughts do come to mind.

    1. Drink water – before you sit down to eat any meal (or anything) drink a large glass of water – slowly. This helps me feel full before I even start eating and creates a bit of a ritual to put me in the eating mindseet.
    2. Create a ritual around food – growing up we always said grace before dinner, that’s how we knew it was time to eat. As an adult creating a ritual was harder – I’m still working on it.
    3. Eat when you’re eating. Put the phone down. But you know that 🙂
    4. Make sure you aren’t actually hungry. Looking at your dinner it seemed possibly low in calories and maybe unbalanced in nutrients. Obviously depends on what else you’d eaten during the day and what exactly was in the sandwich, but you mentioned that even with 500 calories you were probably under your calorie count for the day. I believe that cravings are telling us something and it’s important to listen to them – maybe you did need the extra calories, or the extra fat, or the extra carbs, or…
    5. Never eat from the bag (I suck at this, but it works when I do it). If you’re going to have 12 crackers, put them in a bowl, re-seal the bag, and put the bag away. You may still go back for more but at least you will do so consciously.

    Man! You should see the crazy videos that youtube suggests watching after yours!

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