Taking Back the Meal

It's 1:00 in the afternoon and I haven't eaten since 6:00 in the morning. I’ve been running around the hospital seeing patients, talking to families and attending rounds. I finally have a chance to sit down at a computer and settle in with my lunch so I can begin to work through the eighteen notes I need to write. For some reason, I think that I'm able to type, click, dictate, and eat all at the same time. In reality, this is impossible. Instead of eating a peaceful lunch at a table, I shoveled my lunch into my mouth between clicks. I didn’t enjoy the food and I barely accomplished anything on the computer. I shrug it off and am just grateful to not have to eat again for a few hours. Now I can get my work done and maybe get home at a reasonable time.

Does this resonate with you? Please tell me I’m not the only one! For me, this habit started in medical school after my first child. I felt I had to prove I could do as much work as a man who didn’t have any other responsibility and wasn’t nursing. I had two more children during training and these habits now feel like a well oiled machine. I remember sitting in the pumping room after my 3rd child; it was around 2pm and I was pumping hands-free, talking to a nurse on speakerphone and eating lunch.

I did what I thought I had to do to get through. But it doesn't need to be this way. Actually it shouldn't be this way.

Mindful and intuitive eating are essential to achieve complete health. Many times with our busy schedules we think of eating as a task that has to be checked off the list.

We attempt to do this in the fastest way possible. This may even be making a shake so we don't have to chew (yes, I’ve tried this too). But this approach is all wrong. Eating should not be considered a mundane task. It is how we nourish our bodies and minds so we can take on the challenges of the day. This mindset is part of the problem with the health of our society. We go through our day and often never experience the food we’re eating. We eat what is necessary for life (whether that food is nutritious is another discussion entirely) so we have the stamina to complete the next task.