Whether you're sneaking in lunch while running errands, inhaling breakfast on your commute, or kicking back in front of the TV for dinner, multitasking while you eat can be efficient and even enjoyable. But you also may have noticed how easy it is to overeat when you're not totally focused on your food and your hunger level. And when it comes to weight gain, that extra, distracted eating can add up fast.
The solution is simple but effective: sit back, focus on your food, and enjoy it to its fullest, says John Morton, MD, chief of bariatric surgery at Stanford University. Dr. Morton recommends appreciating every aspect of your meal: looking at the food in different ways, enjoying "the beauty of it — its color, its smell, its preparation." Appreciating your food, he says, can really make a difference in the way you feel while you're eating and afterward. Beyond giving you more time to tune in to your hunger cues, you'll also feel more satisfied and less likely to reach for another snack.
Paying close attention to your food will help you eat more slowly, which research has linked to smaller waist sizes as well as lower BMI and rates of obesity. You'll feel less bloated, too. And it makes sense: if you slow down to savor each bite, eating will take you more time and you'll realize exactly when it's time to stop.
So, eat more attentively — easier said than done, right? The way I think of it is that food is so delicious, it only makes sense to enjoy it as much as possible. Close your eyes and let yourself really appreciate all the goodness in each forkful, even if it's "just" a salad or some meal-prepped chicken. You'll avoid overeating and may see some weight-loss benefits, but even better, you'll feel fully satisfied and content after every meal.