On Episode 6 of The Low Carb Nugget podcast, Jim examines the conflict between “grabbing a bite” and “mindful eating.”
There’s an expression in American English, an idiom, “to grab a bite.”
Some variations include “grab a bite to eat,” “grab something to eat” or just “get a bite.”
I haven’t done extensive research on this idiom, but what I have done suggests it is, indeed, of American origin. That makes sense. The idiom perfectly suits the American mind-set. It turns getting a meal into a quick, decisive action — quick and a little violent, even.
It suggests a busy life-style, a full schedule, a person with things to do and places to go.
You don’t have time to waste on a mere meal. You’re not even going to come to a complete stop at the drive-through window. You’ll just slow down a little and reach out and grab a handful of whatever they’ve got. Bite it off and chew as you head for your next event.
Of course, the idiom is understated to the point of out-right deception. Take the word “bite.” Surely, you will have more than just the one. In fact, you may well go into the restaurant. Sit down, even. Use a knife and fork, maybe. Or at least gentler motions than grabbing.
But later, you’ll only own up to having “grabbed a bite.” You won’t admit to anything more. You have an image to maintain.
That image is of someone who doesn’t pay much attention to eating. Let’s face it, “grabbing a bite” does not imply an action with a lot of thought behind it.
I suspect that people who are into “mindful eating,” or mindfulness in general, don’t go around “grabbing bites” or even using that expression.
According to the website The Greater Good, “mindfulness” means “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.”
That doesn’t sound like grabbing a bite.
Applied to the act of eating, mindfulness means to slow down and pay attention, to focus on what you are about to eat, or are eating, and to avoid distracted eating. You sit at a table, and you do one thing there: you eat.
A study reported on at the European Congress on Obesity, just winding up in Portugal, suggests that (quote) “there is a beneficial association between mindful eating and weight loss.”
I think there is also a “beneficial association” between mindful eating and a low-carb, high-fat eating. As another recent study found, eating low-carb is a good way to control food cravings. A person in the grip of a food craving, or what I’ve called “crazy hunger,” isn’t likely to pay attention, to slow down and focus on the act of eating.
A craving circumvents rational thought.
However, it is certainly possible to eat mindlessly on an LCHF diet.
This happens, for instance, when you eat a few nuts as a snack, viewing the nuts as a healthy low-carb food. And then you eat a few more nuts, and then a few more, and the carbs start piling up.
You may be able to get away with mindless eating on an LCFH diet for a while, but it will catch up with you.
Attention must be paid. I’ve been the most successful in losing weight on my LCHF diet when I was actually recording everything I ate. Every meal, every snack. That’s the ultimate in mindfulness. You know you must record the meal, so you must focus on each part of it.
You avoid auto-feeding, or auto-snacking.
You avoid just “grabbing bites.”
And that’s a good thing.