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How Multi-Tasking Made Me Fat

Updated on August 5, 2009


It was a long time coming but I think I finally figured it all out. That’s right, you don’t need to make yourself crazier than you all ready are if you’re like me. You see as life began running me more and more ragged, I began developing the multi-tasking gene. I’ve built up my stamina and now I can take on about seven or so tasks simultaneously. (True, I’m not sure that the final results on each of the projects will come out the same quality but the point is that I can do a lot at the same time.) Recently trying to eat a meal with some friends and text with my testicles (so as to not appear rude but to get a message to someone about something I’d just thought of and needed to let them know right away) all the while thinking about what was for dessert, whether or not I should set up a time for us to have dinner again the following week, what the brand of jeans was that I saw that guy wearing today and would they look good on me, it dawned on me (yes, I had that many ideas going on at once and I was still smiling and nodding in an almost listening fashion to my friend). It dawned on me that much like my life, while I’m eating what I’m eating right now I’m really not tasting it at all because I’m thinking about the next thing I’m going to eat and the thing after that. How multi-tasking made me fat! – Don’t Get Me Started!

In my family we’re always thinking about the next meal. I’m not sure if it’s a Jewish thing or what but at breakfast you’re discussing lunch, lunch you’re talking about dinner and at dinner you’re talking about dessert and what’s for breakfast tomorrow. I don’t know why but it has always been that way in my family. I guess it gave us something to talk about over our meal and if you go by the logic that the most logical thing to talk about while eating is food then I guess it all makes sense. Although my family has never been at a loss for words at any time so it could be that we just like talking about food. I dunno.

Next add in my work life. I am an Executive Assistant in my current life and as such you must meet the demands of getting everything for everyone in a matter of seconds, so you multi-task out of necessity. Oh sure, they could probably wait a few seconds but as an assistant you’re constantly running at a pace similar to an Olympic athlete except you don’t get the matchy match sweat suit and a stadium of people cheering for you when you’ve managed to fix the copier, re-boot someone’s computer and deal with an irate person on the phone all at the same time.

I always blamed Sesame Street for my short attention span. You see, I grew up with Sesame Street (when it first came on in the 60’s our next door neighbor called my mother and told her, “Lois, don’t turn on PBS. They have a kids’ show where negros are living on the same street with whites.” – My mother never stopped us from watching the show and frankly my father was much more concerned about me watching Mr. Rogers who one day took off his socks and shoes and was dangling his feet in a kiddie pool in his “backyard” than he ever was concerned about Sesame Street.) The thing about Sesame Street was that it accelerated the way we took in information, right? Instead of someone repeating a thousand times the order of numbers 1 through 10 in a slow meticulous fashion, it was suddenly a bunch of cartoon guys opening their coats while the soundtrack blared and you heard, “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten” as fast as lightning. Then it was on to Oscar in his garbage can. Then to the lady bugs at the lady bug picnic. (“And they all sat around and told knock, knock jokes!”)The faster the information came in the faster we started to process information until finally if someone takes more than a sentence to get something out I’m completely bored.

So add all of it together and I think I may have the secret to my sagging gut. I’m eating foods at the speed of lightning, all the while thinking about six hundred other things I need to do, while also sending an email or watching something on Tivo. No wonder I have no idea what I just ate or what it tasted like. No wonder I eat until the plate is empty or I tip over like a beached whale. Like any important project, the less attention to detail you give it, the crappier it turns out. And such is the case with my body. I’ve paid it very little attention and it has repaid me by transforming into something I don’t even recognize.

So I’ve decided to make a change and I encourage you to come along with me for the ride. I’ve never known what “undivided attention” was but I’m going to train myself to be able to do it the same way I trained myself to not give all of my attention to any one thing. I’m going to look at the food (so that maybe I can tell someone what it was I ate afterward) and I’m going to taste each bite too.  Yes, it’s that simple. I’m going to take the same amount of time to eat that I take writing, reading and re-reading a blog post, editing all the way before I post it. It can sometimes take me an hour to write one post and get it shaped exactly the way I like it while I can’t remember ever taking longer than fifteen minutes to eat unless it was in a restaurant where they served each course designed to be a “dining experience” (and I was always impatient that the next course wasn’t coming fast enough). And suddenly the words to the song, “Feeling Groovy” are going through my head, “Slow down, you move too fast, gotta make the morning last just kickin’ down the cobblestones, looking for fun and feeling groovy.” How multi-tasking made me fat! – Don’t Get Me Started!

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    • J.M.B. profile image

      J.M.B. 8 years ago

      This just kills me ^.^

    • relache profile image

      Raye 8 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Eating with mindfulness is a wonderful thing, Scott. I'm working on that one myself. I've always not wanted to have to put time and energy into the making of meals and that had me eating poorly for decades. I'm putting a lot more time and focus into what I buy (farmer's market) and how I prepare it (lightly cooked or raw since it's summer), and have practically eliminated eating out now. And when it comes to the actual eating part, I was sort of surprised once I put my attention to it, how little most food was chewed before I swallowed and how quickly I went to the next bite.