Sometimes I’ll be talking to a friend and they are telling me about a screenplay they are writing or a stained-glass mural they are grouting and they say, “I was so into what I was doing, I forgot to eat.”
At which point I get to giggling which kind of gums up the whole conversation. But truly. I ask you. I have been alive for almost 50 years and I have never, never ever once, not for one meal have I ever forgotten to eat.
As I watch myself, though, I’m wondering if is really true. While I can say for sure I’ve put food in the ol’ pie hole at every meal every single day, I can also say for sure that I wasn’t really paying that much attention for many of those feedings.
I’ve never forgotten to eat, but now I am remembering to eat.
At the front end of a meal, I’m usually awake and aware. As I sit down to eat, I stop and take a breath. I look at my plate and offer gratitude to all the miracles and all the hands that made the meal possible. When I eat with my family, we say a grace. I take a sip of water (or wine). I pick up my fork and…
…everything goes kaflooey.
My first bite is like the push-off down a ski jump. It doesn’t take long for me to gather momentum until I’m just rocketing along pushing food in without tasting it. The reasons for the speeded up disconnect are many: I might be talking to my dinner mates or distracted or over-hungry or emotional or on auto-pilot. A few minutes later, I look up from my plate with quinoa kernels in my eyebrows and avocado on my chin. First to finish again.
Where the habit of scarfing started I don’t know but I’m doing my best to shift it. In the past weeks, when I notice the meal time ski jump launch happening, I stop and put down my fork and take a breath. Reset. Restart. Re-thank. Take a bite and notice. Remarkably, one day last week, I made myself a salad that was very lovely. I sat down to eat it, took a bite, and realized I didn’t want it. I put it away for later. Amazing.
Just like the drinking habit, this one is not going away soon or completely. But it feels better, and frankly, more nourishing to take time to remember to eat.