Back to School: Eating Consciously

I’m trying a themed week. Since I’ll be moving back to Providence this week for school, I’ve decided to focus on a few ideas surrounding back to school and detail some of my goals for the year. On to the post:

Have you ever noticed how many stereotypes there are about college students and food?

First, you hear about the Freshman 15, the inevitable weight-gain we have come to expect as some self-deprecating rite of passage. Then, you hear about all the Ramen noodle dishes you’re supposed to be eating since college students are universally too poor to eat anything else. (I’m not necessarily going to dispute that…) To me, all of these eating problems stem from one macro-problem:

Eating is a multi-tasking event.

In the dining halls at Brown, I often see people reading their Bio textbooks while eating cereal or catching up with The Wall Street Journal

students eating in a dining hall

Enjoying all the noms

over lasagna. Much to my amazement, you even see people typing papers on MacBooks while eating chocolate cake. (I don’t have that type of confidence in my own eating abilities to be that gutsy.) Then there are the people eating and working outside of the dining halls. Students walk in, shovel food into to-go containers and head for their rooms or the library.

In either situation, we’re eating our food and doing something else. People are like CPUs in a computer, we switch between single tasks rapidly rather than performing two tasks at once Laura V, the author of personal productivity book 168 Hours, suggests that we find complementary tasks to complete together like socializing with friends over lunch.

For me, my mealtimes are important breaks from doing work. When I can just focus on the food I’m eating rather than juggling the paper due in an hour with my french fries.

Watching TV while you eat is similar. For most of us TV takes more of our mental energy, so we find ourselves being less aware of what we’re eating and how much. Ultimately, eating this way is not satisfying physically or mentally. This year, I don’t want to do any homework while I’m eating. I figure I’ll be much happier for it.

And there’s no chance I’ll get chocolate cake crumbs stuck in my keyboard.


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Do you prefer to make mealtime a break time? How often do you feel you truly appreciate your food consciously? Let me know in the comments.


One Comment on “Back to School: Eating Consciously”

  1. Melissa says:

    “This year, I don’t want to do any homework while I’m eating. I figure I’ll be much happier for it.” Excellent idea.
    For me, cooking and eating is just that, a time to take a break from school work and enjoy what I’m doing. To just veg and relax.
    More than that though, when your mind processes it better when you don’t multi-task while you’re eating, so you eat less. YAY.
    Happy first week of school!

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