Health Challenge: Stop Texting While Eating

Conde Nast Digital Studioby Lexi Petronis, Glamour

Do you text while you're eating a meal? Ugh, I do. I also listen to voicemails and respond to emails. On the plus side, I try to do this only when I'm eating solo to minimize the rudeness factor--but, really? Nixing it altogether would be the healthier choice. It could even help you eat less.

A new survey by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future has found that 50 percent of 20-somethings think it's appropriate to text during a meal (only 15 percent of those 30 and older think the same).

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So, yeah, rudeness is definitely part of it. It's off-putting when someone is more wrapped up in the e-conversation she's having with someone else than the real-life conversations she could be having with you. I have a few friends who practice the stack-a-phone rule: all phones must be placed in a pile in the center of the restaurant table so there's no possibility of sneaking in a text.

But the other thing about texting while eating is that it distracts you from actually eating. And I don't mean it makes you forget to eat; really, the opposite is true. Pamela Peeke, author of The Hunger Fix: The 3-Stage Solution to Free Yourself from Your Food Addictions for Life, says that distracted eating is mindless eating, and it messes with key hormones and elements in our body chemistry, which sets us up to scarf down our food (and consume 200 to 300 more calories than we meant to).

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For those of us who like to multitask (or who don't even like it--we just do it, because there are so many things on our to-do list), putting down the phone while eating is a challenge. So let's try it! Can we get through meals without glancing at our phones or computers?

Practicing mindfulness can actually help us not miss our phones at all. Remember, it can take our bodies 20 minutes to register that our stomachs are full--so slow down! After every bite, put down your spoon or fork, take a breath, and try to really taste your food.

Are you up for the challenge? (I'm totally trying this!)


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