When it comes to what and how you eat, I'm a big fan of you doing you. Eating based on other people's food rules is what gets us all into trouble, so if you feel your best eating vegetarian, or avoiding spicy food, or eating your breakfast standing up at the kitchen counter — great. I'm not going to tell you what to do. But, this week, I am going to offer you a challenge.
It's a challenge I accepted myself, the very first week I quit dieting and began intuitive eating. While it's utterly simple, it is by no means easy. (But, really, when has easy ever taken you anywhere good?) I still do my damndest to accept this challenge every day, because it's worth it. It's a true game changer, and one I think that literally every person who tries it will benefit from. That's a bold claim, I realize. But I don't make this promise lightly. There is no right way to eat, but this habit will never, ever steer you wrong.
The Challenge: One meal a day with no distractions.
The Timeline: One week.
The Fine Print: The definition of "distraction" shall include, but not be limited to, your phone, a book, music, podcasts, or the TV. And don't get sneaky with all that, "Um, I don't have cable. I just use Netflix and Hulu, so it's not actually TV, okay?" If there are people doing something on a screen for your entertainment, I don't care what kind of cable it's coming through. That's TV, so turn it off, buster. Distraction is any kind of outside stimulus; it's anything other than you and the food on your plate — including another person.
This practice is essentially Mindfulness For Dummies. Mindfulness sounds like one of those daunting, life-changing goals, where you have to go live on a mountain for a while in order to do it right. But the truth is, even applying it to a tiny slice of your day will radically change that part of your day, and there's a very real ripple effect into the rest of your life.
When you apply mindfulness to a meal, it will not only change that meal, but every other meal you eat. Here are some of the things that happen when you delete distractions from mealtime.
The Anti-Diet Project is an ongoing series about intuitive eating, sustainable fitness, and body positivity. You can follow Kelsey's journey on Twitter and Instagram at @mskelseymiller or #antidietproject (hashtag your own Anti-Diet moments, too!). Curious about how it all got started? Check out the whole column, right here. Got your own story to tell? Send me a pitch at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you just want to say "Hi," that's cool, too.