4 Mindful Steps to Eat In a Flow State
A flow state is a mental condition ( not a disorder ) when you’re enjoying an activity so much that you lose track of time and a sense of self. For example, finding the perfect porn. Or take a more gentle example, relishing a lip-smacking saliva-shooting culinary pleasure.
I’m the slowest eater in every social circle. Although slow-eating is a healthier option than fast-eating because it helps us control over-eating, I still wanted to find a way to finish eating in under 30 minutes without feeling the time as long.
Flow states give you a feeling of timelessness by immersing yourself in the task at hand like I’ve lost myself in writing right now.
To improve my time management when it comes to eating, I’ve come up with these four effective techniques that will be helpful for you, too, if you are an ultra-slow eater. That’s because fast-eating is:
- leads to emotional eating, and
- the brain takes time to detect when your stomach is full.
#1. Eat reasonably healthy.
Occasional guilty pleasure is okay. But if the daily food you’re eating is super-unhealthy, then it will leave you craving for more after you’re done. That’s the negative effect of getting dopamine hit from junk foods.
Eating healthy might still make you crave them, but the effect will be tolerable because healthy foods keep you full for a long time, which helps in managing your appetite.
#2. Know what you’re eating beforehand.
My breakfast and lunch happen at their regular time because I have to start writing after breakfast. And for lunch, I have to get back to work after a power nap.
When you practice conscious eating, you understand your body’s needs and purpose of eating.
You’ll even take less time to eat because you’ve eliminated the analysis paralysis problem of deciding what to eat.
#3. Play music for focus.
My chronic problem with food until a month ago:
Once I started my gratitude journal, I wanted to prioritise single-tasking in eating too. Being mindful helps you appreciate what you have in your vision to boost your focus.
To obliterate any distraction while eating, play one of your favourite songs on repeat. It removes the need to change the song to improve your attention span because you’re focused on food, and two more feats happen:
- you eat in a rhythm, and
- the best part about your music: you’ll barely get bored in 30 minutes.
It can also work with any familiar video ( like a standup comedy ), which can last up to 30 minutes or a music video playing on loop. The main aim is to let the audio play on repeat without your need to control it.
#4. Gamify your meal with a timer.
The ultimate goal to eat in a flow state is to make the best use of time.
Before I started aiming for 30-minute meal sessions, I used to eat for more than 45 minutes while shuffling between YouTube, Netflix and whatever OTTs I’ve missed because I’m ashamed of sharing.
Set a reasonable time limit if you’ve terrible eating speed to clarify that you’re accomplishing what you started:
Eat slow while enjoying the process.
I still struggle with finishing my food in under 30 minutes because I eat a lot to support my active lifestyle.
But one habit that has helped me save time is to do all the prepping before starting a meal.
For example, if I have almonds for breakfast, I’ll peel them beforehand, so I don’t have to do the same activity while eating. While having eggs in lunch and dinner, I peel them ahead to avoid the distraction of slowing down the eating process in the middle.
Slow-eating is a healthy alternative to the fast one because it takes time for the brain to detect when your stomach is about to explode.
Slow-eating helps with managing your appetite by signalling you to stop eating when it’s time.
I’ve shared more science-backed benefits of slow eating in a previous blog. But if you eat slower than you want to, here are four steps you can use to eat in a flow state while enjoying the taste:
- Eat reasonably healthy.
- Know what you’re eating beforehand to avoid choice overwhelm.
- Play your favourite song on loop for focus.
- Gamify your delicious meal with a timer.
Keep in mind that flow states are not only about mental speed. They’re also about enjoying the process.
So, eat slowly, enjoy the food, and before you know how much time has passed, you’ll be over with your food and ready to take a burp.
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Sanjeev is a writer, mentor and recovering shopaholic from India. He writes about lifelong learning, personal growth, and positive psychology. When he’s not busy with his muse, he’s sweating either in a workout or emulating outdoor games in his home because of the pandemic. He also chronicles his writing and fitness journey on Instagram. He shares #ThoughtForTheDay daily on Twitter.