I am regularly amazed by the changes I have managed to implement in my life, as a result of my lifestyle change (no doubt, of which I’m considering more because I’m now writing about it). I’m not sure I ever was, by nature, a fast eater. I do know that before my lifestyle change, I was prone to eating too quickly either because I was thinking about getting more before I was even finished or I waited too long to eat.
Since I’m more mindful when I eat now, I’m less likely to eat quickly. In fact, one big difference I’ve noticed concerns my hesitation to eat if I know I am short on time. In my ‘previous’ life, I would have just scarfed something down and likely over-eaten later in the day to make up for feeling like I hadn’t really eaten anything. I now have some different strategies when something interferes with sitting down to eat a meal.
Pressed for Time
I’m most likely to be pressed for time when I’m at school. My lunch experience yesterday is what actually prompted me to write this post. I was late getting back from my class, we had Gus with us, so I fed him lunch and took him outside (which takes a while because he’s so adorable that everybody wants to pet him), I got ready for my afternoon class, and tried to fit in some meditation time.
When I looked up from the article I was reading with lunch, I saw that I had 10 minutes left before I had to brush my teeth and walk to a different building to set up for class. At that point, I was only ¾ of the way finished and wouldn’t get to my peanut butter bar treat without rushing. Bummer. But, instead of eating faster, I ate what I had time for, skipped the rest–knowing I wouldn’t starve–and reminded myself I could eat more after my class if I still wanted it.
No Time at All
Recently, I ran into a friend in the hall one day who mentioned she was booked all day and wouldn’t get a lunch break. I told her there’s no way I could go all day without eating because I’d just be too grumpy. That’s why I prioritize regularly scheduling lunch time into my day. On those rare occasions when I have too many back-to-back things going on, I plan around them. Maybe it means eating a bigger breakfast to hold me over longer. Or maybe, since I’m not a fan of working lunches, it means taking a small snack to tide me over until I can sit and eat a meal.
Interrupted dinner times are worse to deal with, in my opinion. I like to start eating between 7:30-8:00. I hate it when I’m forced into what I think of as (and I preemptively apologize if I cause offense) aged person or kid dinner times. When that happens, I just opt for a salad and eat the rest of my meal later, if possible. If not, I hope that I’ll be home early enough to at least have my dessert during my regular dining time.
Unexpected intrusion of meal time due to plot twists means relying on stashed snacks to get me through. Usually, these are so disruptive and stressful that just eating some nuts to quell the hunger pangs–if they even arise–is satisfying enough. But having this option is a lot better than having to rely on something from a vending machine or corner shop–especially as a low-carbohydrate vegan.
As I mentioned in Standing Snacker, just taking a more holistic approach to how I approach life has really helped me to be more mindful. By better recognizing what I need to do to be more satisfied with eating, I’m much better at accommodating schedule disruptions and having contingency plans. And the more time that has passed since I made my lifestyle change, the more I realize I’d rather just not eat than feel rushed and not be able to enjoy my food. But because I know skipping meals sets me up for failure, I accept that sometimes I need to stick some nuts in my mouth to get me by, even though that’s less than ideal for someone who loves food.