The dangers of eating in your car
First and foremost, eating while driving is just plain dangerous. Notice how many people are doing something else while they are driving - using their phone, putting on makeup, doing their hair and very often eating. Distracted driving is a leading cause of car crashes. Many activities you may not think of as distracting, but they truly are - eating included.
Beyond driving safety - eating in your car is dangerous for your health as well. Distracted eating is one of the leading causes of overeating. And though overeating is not the only reason for overweight, it is one of the factors playing a role in the overweight and obesity epidemic we experience today. Distracted eating or often described as mindless eating is eating without paying attention to the act of eating and the benefits you get from nourishing your body well.
Some ways that distracted or mindless eating may affect you include:
- Feeling overly full after a meal.
- Eating a meal or snack, but not remembering the experience.
- Feeling tempted to eat again shortly after eating.
- Eating very fast, possibly creating excess gas and bloating.
Paying attention to eating has a number of benefits including:
- Greater enjoyment of food.
- Reduction in overeating.
- Creation of a healthy relationship with food and your body.
- Slowing down your eating - beneficial for digestive health and recognition of hunger and fullness cues.
- Recognition of reasons for eating other than hunger - tired, bored, sad, happy, etc.
What are things you can do to stop eating in your car and distracted eating?
- Plan your meals and snacks. This will encourage you to prepare meals so you have something available to eat at mealtime and you won't be scrambling to pick something up when on the road.
- Plan when you will eat. Some of my clients find that planning for eating at certain times of the day provides structure that encourages eating mindfulness.
- Plan where you will eat. Making the time to have lunch in the lunchroom or even at your desk before you head out for an afternoon meeting will allow you to remain cognizant of what you are eating.
- Eat meals and snacks that fill you up so you don't need to eat as frequently throughout the day. Incorporate protein and healthy fats that will digest more slowly and keep you feeling full and satisfied.
- Choose foods that nourish you and taste delicious so you will not be tempted to grab food when on the road.
Being mindful of your eating can have tremendous benefits. With any lifestyle change, however, it requires:
- a decision that it is a change worth making
- creating a plan of action to implement the change
- recognizing the barriers to making a change and addressing those barriers
- executing the change.
- If eating in your car is a habit that you have developed that you would like to change, start today by taking action on the steps above to create a new habit for your best health.