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Calorie Count Blog

Take Time to Eat less


By +Carolyn Richardson on Mar 24, 2011 10:00 AM in Dieting & You

By Carolyn Richardson

The one-hour lunch is a thing of the past. In fact, more than half of Americans take 30 minutes or less for lunch.  But just as it takes time to do anything successfully, when trying to eat healthy food in reasonable portions, you have to make the time.  If you take lunch as a separate time away from the world, then you may find that you eat less.

Walk Away from Your Desk

Even more disturbing than the shrinking lunch break is the number of people eating at their desks.  According to a survey by Right Management and LinkedIn, twenty percent of workers who take a lunch break eat at their desks.  This is a big no-no.  Not only is your desk a major germ incubator, but eating at your desk can make you hungrier later in the day.  Researchers from the University of Bristol found that those who ate lunch while sitting at a computer screen ate twice as many snacks later on than those who didn’t. 

Enjoy a 'Siesta'

While Spain’s three-hour break may be out of the question, taking a break from work and technology to focus on eating will prevent you from over-eating.  Referred to as intuitive eating or eating mindfully, this method asks you to focus entirely on your meal and the eating process as opposed to enjoying other stimulation.  The result is experiencing your food: how it tastes and feels in your body.  Like taking a nap, intuitive eating helps rejuvenate your mind and body by experiencing the joys of food.

Is Your Brain Full?

"It takes the brain anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes to send satisfaction signals," says Kathleen J. Melanson, PhD, RD, associate professor of nutrition and food sciences at the University of Rhode Island, who confirmed the need for slow eating in her lab. In this age of drive thru windows and eating in the car, an entire meal may be down the hatch only to feel overly stuffed ten minutes later. To avoid this, chew your food. Yes your mother told you to do so, but now your mouth has to listen. By chewing your food longer, you allow your body to get full on less.

Don’t Eat Alone

Many people eat slower and less when they eat with a companion.  A girls’ lunch may lead to more talking than eating, resulting in food left on the plate. But select your dining companions carefully!  Choose those that don’t speed-eat because the fast eater will set the pace for the table.  Likewise, avoid junk-eaters because they make sharing an entrée impossible.  Manipulate the ambiance, including the people, and you will lower your stress levels as well as the amount you eat.


Your thoughts....

Do you eat at your desk?  Do you eat slow, medium, or fast?



Comments


You know, I was just thinking about this... while about to eat a snack at my desk.



 I don't snack much.. ever.. I always find myself overeating, or just eating it because it's there..

I eat slow though, always!!



Well I exercise regularly although overweight and my cycling fitness magazine suggests eating little and often so to eat a banana, apple or orange at my desk is not a ad thing. In fact I eat all of those every working day as well as lunch. 

Unless I use the canteen at work then I have not got a facility to eat anywhere else other than my desk. I tend to bring food in from home i nan attempt to control my diet and save money.

 

I would agree about taking a break, eating fast and mess/germs as all are adversely affected when eating at your desk.

 

Andy



I almost always eat at my desk. However, often if I want to leave to get to my work out on time, I have to or come in an hour earlier. Hate getting up early, so not going to happen. Besides, eating is boring. I would read anyway.



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I guess i am very lucky because we have a full cafeteria at work, a 35 minute lunch break and it's all subsidized so the employees only pay a portion of the costs. It gets us away from our desks and there are always plenty of healthy choices for entrees and the salad bar is amazing!  I am very grateful after years of brown bagging it to be pampered and prepared for!



This is not new. It is something I learned from my father while growing up. Eat at the table without TV or other distractions, and eat slowly.



I usually eat at Dunkin Donuts, an egg white veggie flatbread, and most often with a friend.  If I eat alone, I eat, and then go for a walk around the store where I work, or go to the employees room and read.

I am a fast eater.



I definitely see the logic in staying away from snacking at your desk. On busy days I have done this and unless I portion control, I have found myself finishing off a whole bag of mixed nuts or granola. Not 'terrible for you' snacks but certtainly not good to eat the entire thing! lol.

I do much better taking a lunch break with friends in the caf.

But my other issue is that after eating any real food I have a terrible craving for a sweet! I have healthy alternatives but in my office building there is AlWaYs something catered with dessert trays or homemade things and I just can't stay away.



I bring leftovers for lunch most days and we don't have a cafeteria so I really have nowhere to eat but at my desk. However, I have an area that is not in fron to f my computer that I eat at and I usually read a book during lunch too. In the afternoons, I have to have a snack so I usually make a bag of 100cal SmartPop popcorn and of course eat that at my desk.

I lost about 17 lbs over the past year and have been maintaining at my goal weight for more than 6 months. I also workout 5 times a week. My big problem is that I'm a fast eater and am usually always the first one done at the table. I try to slow down but inevitably I am done first. this is a constant struggle!



Original Post by: gwhis3

I definitely see the logic in staying away from snacking at your desk. On busy days I have done this and unless I portion control, I have found myself finishing off a whole bag of mixed nuts or granola. Not 'terrible for you' snacks but certtainly not good to eat the entire thing! lol.

I do much better taking a lunch break with friends in the caf.

But my other issue is that after eating any real food I have a terrible craving for a sweet! I have healthy alternatives but in my office building there is AlWaYs something catered with dessert trays or homemade things and I just can't stay away.


I'm the same way.  Often my meal doesn't seem complete without something sweet at the end.  I think thats just a mental thing?  Maybe just have half or a quarter of a dessert?  Cut it before you start to eat it so you can physically see the portion you're allowing yourself.



I am a stay at home mom who never gets to check her email with out interruption, so I do eat at my desk.  It is the only time I sit down and take a moment for myself.  I hope I am not sabotaging my eating.  I eat breakfast and dinner at the table with my kids.  I do feel it is important to have that family time with them, but most of the meal is spent reminding them to sit and eat.  Lunch is my oasis at the computer.



You know...there are some of us that are paid at a salary rate and have to squeeze lunch or meal and snacks in when there are no customers or requests for our help.  Yeah, it is legal. 

So I have a small pick me up stored in my desk, since I can not get away frequently, this is something that is healthy that I can just pop in my mouth.  I have a small easier to eat lunch in the back so I can enjoy something healthy.  Yeah, we are not allowed to leave the business either.

I eat bigger meals at home, but the day is more like smaller meals now, I have been able to make this work.



My dinner portions are about half the amount of my husband's normal ones, and I try to time it so we finish our plates together.  It took a lot of focus in the beginning, but it has gotten easier over time.  I often do start to feel full before the plate is empty, which cuts down on second helpings.



Too funny! I read this article WHILE eating lunch at my desk....which is what I do most often.... Food for thought for sure...



Original Post by: jassyjade

Too funny! I read this article WHILE eating lunch at my desk....which is what I do most often.... Food for thought for sure...


Me too!   Wolfing down lunch at 2:30 ...  definitely not satisfying.   I agree with the article - the trick will be finding a way to make it work!

 



This article is sooo right! I don't remember when or why I started to eat while reading or watching a video in my computer. May be it was because I was eating alone most of the time. After a while I noticed that every time I read a book o watched TV, I felt the need to eat...so I ended up eating a lot more than was good for me.  I've been trying to focus on eating, and whenever possible, avoid eating alone. Even though it’s not easy, so far it's working great!



I'm a nurse at night and have found that it is hard to get away and take a lunch. smaller number of staff and a lot of charting to be done. it would be nice to be able to get away sometimes. someday it might change.



I just finished eating lunch at my desk, while working. I'll try to stop this.



I work at a restaurant. 4pm-midnight or 1am. No breaks. I usually wolf down something after the dinner rush around 9pm or 10pm. while still having to wait tables if they come in. I used to bring a banana or granola bar just to tide me over but now they are even saying that isn't allowed. And yes it is legal, in the state of Arizona they don't regulate break times. I def feel like this is sabotaging my healthy eating habits because sometimes I am so hungry I go for the fastest thing which is usually something fried.  



Original Post by: gurly239

Original Post by: gwhis3

I definitely see the logic in staying away from snacking at your desk. On busy days I have done this and unless I portion control, I have found myself finishing off a whole bag of mixed nuts or granola. Not 'terrible for you' snacks but certtainly not good to eat the entire thing! lol.

I do much better taking a lunch break with friends in the caf.

But my other issue is that after eating any real food I have a terrible craving for a sweet! I have healthy alternatives but in my office building there is AlWaYs something catered with dessert trays or homemade things and I just can't stay away.


I'm the same way.  Often my meal doesn't seem complete without something sweet at the end.  I think thats just a mental thing?  Maybe just have half or a quarter of a dessert?  Cut it before you start to eat it so you can physically see the portion you're allowing yourself.


I'm the same way too. The best way that I've found to combat the desire for an afternoon cookie is to have fresh fruit. A sweet fuiji apple usually hits the spot. My other favorite is a nice ripe banana with some honey and cinnamon drizzled on it. YUM!



Original Post by: barbierc59

You know...there are some of us that are paid at a salary rate and have to squeeze lunch or meal and snacks in when there are no customers or requests for our help.  Yeah, it is legal. 

So I have a small pick me up stored in my desk, since I can not get away frequently, this is something that is healthy that I can just pop in my mouth.  I have a small easier to eat lunch in the back so I can enjoy something healthy.  Yeah, we are not allowed to leave the business either.

I eat bigger meals at home, but the day is more like smaller meals now, I have been able to make this work.


In a similar vein, there are some of us with extremely busy career-level jobs that force us to either eat lunch at our desks or take a lunch break and then be stuck at work later, for even more overtime.  Seriously, people who tell those of us with careers that we need to "take our time" while eating during work hours cannot possibly comprehend the pain of having to add yet another hour onto what is probably already an 11-hr shift.  Eating fast while reviewing documents at your desk is fine--so long as you pack yourself a lunch the night before that is healthier.



I go from client to client for work so I often have to eat in the car, at a desk while working, or over a lunch meeting. I took control of my calories a few months ago though and that has helped a lot. I can now portion size and know what I need, although I often do find myself skipping meals because I am just too busy. Not a good habit, I know!



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I go to the gym every day at lunch for an 45 mins so by the time I get back my lunch hour is over which means if I have to eat at my desk while I'm working.  I don't tend to snack later though - I'm always trying to drink more water so that's my 'consumption' focus until my after work workout.



I also have a sweet tooth after eating.  When it's a mild craving gum does the trick or else I have some dates, prunes or dried apricots.  At home a good, healthy alternative is chocolate date balls.  Just chop up some pitted dates, cook with water and coco power until a paste is formed then roll it in coconut or almond powder and yum yum yum  :)  



Original Post by: gwhis3

I definitely see the logic in staying away from snacking at your desk. On busy days I have done this and unless I portion control, I have found myself finishing off a whole bag of mixed nuts or granola. Not 'terrible for you' snacks but certtainly not good to eat the entire thing! lol.

I do much better taking a lunch break with friends in the caf.

But my other issue is that after eating any real food I have a terrible craving for a sweet! I have healthy alternatives but in my office building there is AlWaYs something catered with dessert trays or homemade things and I just can't stay away.


I also have a sweet tooth after eating.  When it's a mild craving gum does the trick or else I have some dates, prunes or dried apricots.  At home a good, healthy alternative is chocolate date balls.  Just chop up some pitted dates, cook with water and coco power until a paste is formed then roll it in coconut or almond powder and yum yum yum  :)



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Original Post by: deegirl_06

Original Post by: gurly239

Original Post by: gwhis3

I definitely see the logic in staying away from snacking at your desk. On busy days I have done this and unless I portion control, I have found myself finishing off a whole bag of mixed nuts or granola. Not 'terrible for you' snacks but certtainly not good to eat the entire thing! lol.

I do much better taking a lunch break with friends in the caf.

But my other issue is that after eating any real food I have a terrible craving for a sweet! I have healthy alternatives but in my office building there is AlWaYs something catered with dessert trays or homemade things and I just can't stay away.


I'm the same way.  Often my meal doesn't seem complete without something sweet at the end.  I think thats just a mental thing?  Maybe just have half or a quarter of a dessert?  Cut it before you start to eat it so you can physically see the portion you're allowing yourself.


I'm the same way too. The best way that I've found to combat the desire for an afternoon cookie is to have fresh fruit. A sweet fuiji apple usually hits the spot. My other favorite is a nice ripe banana with some honey and cinnamon drizzled on it. YUM!


I've found that I don't need very much sweet at all to satisfy that feeling. I usually have maybe 5-10 small, semi-sweet chocolate chips - which isn't even 5 calories! Just that little bit of sweet, once I'm full, really is all I need.

 

I also eat at my desk, because it doesn't count as an official lunch break. I use my 45 min lunch break to go on a walk with some of my co-workers. I do tend to snack a lot at work, but I've found if I eat a larger breakfast (usually high fiber oatmeal and a banana), and just try to eat every two hours or so, and keep my snacks around 200 calories, I end up being right where I need to be to have a 500-600 calorie dinner. It does take a LOT of planning though - I need to have all of it at work, plenty of water, etc.



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