Thursday, July 14, 2011

Intuitive Eating Review - Eat with enjoyment but without distractions

Rule 6: Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure & Rule 7: Eat without distractions

It’s lunchtime. I’m working on a big project at work. We’re implementing a new online loan application. My day is spent testing, reporting, responding to emails and figuring out how each element should work. The days are long due to the time crunch; there is a hard deadline with lots to do. There is no time to think of anything else.

I power through lunch at my desk. Apparently I’ve eaten a container of pasta, a baggie of baby carrots with hummus and a handful of animal crackers. I should be satisfied. I shouldn’t be hungry, but I am. Oh well, I guess I didn’t bring enough food today, better go down stairs to get something to fill me up. I should buy some fruit. I don’t; I buy three cookies from Timmies. Hopefully three cookies will be enough to satisfy me...

I'm discussing rule 6 (eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure) & 7 (eat without distractions) together as they go hand-in-hand to help you to become a mindful, conscious eater.

How many people can say that they truly enjoy every morsel of food they put in their mouth? I can consume so many calories without a thought. I’ve eaten multiple handfuls of Oreos, bags of Reese’ Peanut Butter cup miniatures, large bags of movie popcorn, my lunch, my breakfast and dinner without really thinking about it; enjoy eating it; or savoring it; or even tasting it.

My pleasure of food seems to come only when taking in large quantities. It’s like there is a strong need to get to the next piece of food as quickly as possible. I’m getting better, taking my time, slowing down and enjoying the taste of food. And you know what happens when I slow down and actually taste food? I eat less.

Eating without distraction means no radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music, and although it’s not listed, I would assume this also means no internet. For most people, I think the biggest distraction while eating is television. I’ve eaten countless meals in front of the television, both as a single gal, and a married gal. Before we got married, hubbie and I decided to eat dinner at the table. Now that we have children, we eat all meals at the table. On the other hand, with snacks, I’m not quite as consistent. Especially at night; I’m always watching TV if I have an after-dinner snack.

I’d say that for the most part, I eat without distractions. I do need to work on eating with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure, which is easier to follow when I’m less distracted. But, it is just another rule to follow and worry about when eating. It should be simple to follow, but mindless eating (as opposed to mindful) is a hard habit to break. And sometimes it is just hard to eat with gusto while munching on celery sticks and zucchini spears.

Disclaimer: I should tell you that I no longer have my copies of Geneen Roth’s earlier books on intuitive eating, Why Weight? A guide to Ending Compulsive Eating and Breaking Free from Emotional Eating and I have not read her popular, Oprah-endorsed book, Women Food and God. I haven’t picked up new copies to recall the finer points of each rule. My analysis is based strictly on my memory from 2001/2001 when I participated in an intuitive eating support group in an attempt to resolve my eating issues. In this particular group, we followed Geneen Roth’s seven guidelines for intuitive eating.

Quick Links

Rule 1: Eat when you are hungry
Rule 2: Eat sitting down in a calm environment
Rule 3: Eat what your body wants
Rule 4: Eat in until you are satisfied
Rule 5: Eat in full view of others

Next posting - conclusion on why intuitive eating did not work for me!


  1. Nope... not me. I am all about distractions when I eat. I like to read or watch TV. Bad, I know. I think the only time I eat without one or the other is when we sit down with our teen for "family dinner." No TV or reading then:)

  2. See, this is the problem with rules. It makes you think you are bad for eating in front of the TV. As if trying to lose weight or maintain it isn't hard enough!

  3. My problem is to REMEMBER to do this. My husband hands me a plate and I am half way through it before I remember to eat mindfully and enjoy the food. When I do, I feel virtuous LOL and so much better,physically. When I don't I seem to need something to munch on ever hour and a half... like a smoker's need for a nicotine fix.

    Since I don't always eat in the same room... I neeed to do something to remind myself to SLOW DOWN. After all, the fridge is full. I don't have to be. I can have more food the next time I'm hungry.


Thanks for your comments, I love to hear what you have to say. While you are here, why don't you follow my blog too.

Also: I'm starting to get spam, so I've made the decision to moderate comments (unfortunately).