DOES MULTITASKING CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN?
Eating while scrolling through Instagram, checking emails, and answering calls. Nothing out of the ordinary in our modern world. Multitasking has long been established in our daily lives. What has this to do with weight gain? A whole lot! According to new research from Rice University, media multitasking is likely to make you fat.
The study was conducted in two parts. Participants ranged between 18 and 23. In the first round, phone behaviors such as the urge to reach for the phone while talking to someone else or getting distracted by notifications during work were measured The results were crystal clear. Subjects scoring high on the test also had a higher body mass index (BMI) and a greater percentage of body fat. The latter being more interesting, as the BMI does not accurately reflect a healthy body weight.
During the second round, participants were shown different pictures including photos of delicious but fattening foods while the researchers measured brain activity. Subjects who identified as media multitaskers and also had a higher percentage of body fat showed an increased activity in the part of the brain dealing with food temptation.
It seems to be true, media multitasking is linked to obesity.
Thinking about it a little deeper, it totally makes sense. Being constantly distracted by the electronic devices around us, messes with our ability to focus. We start to become mindless with our day to day activities, our work, and our food.
If you lack the ability to concentrate on the task on hand for a certain period of time you also lack the ability to stay consistent and disciplined with your eating. You are more tempted to eat something because it crosses your mind and you have to have it right away, instead of solely eating out of hunger and because your body needs it.
Ever sat in front of the TV where someone was eating pizza and you suddenly also crave pizza besides not being hungry? Exactly!
Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks that prevent you from tapping into the media multitasking-mindless eating trap:
- Put your phone on flight mode and turn off Wi-Fi while working.
- Turn off the push notifications from apps like Instagram, WhatsApp etc. So you have control over when you want to be disturbed.
- Turn off push emails while working on something important so that you don’t get disturbed by incoming emails that need your ‘immediate’ attention.
- Practice to not attend to everything right away. Some problems get solved without you stressing over them (happened to me more than once J).
- Practice meditation. I know it’s so cliché but it really helps to train your brain to be more calm and not jump at every information that’s coming in.
- Go on a walk. If sitting still and meditating is not your thing, go out for a walk. Being outside in nature and breathing in fresh air can do wonders for your brain.
- When you get cravings, ask yourself: Am I really hungry or just thirsty? Am I bored? Have I slept enough? Am I stressed? Getting clear on your feelings will help you to better identify real hunger.
So the next time you catch yourself answering emails while checking Instagram while eating your lunch, think about how it affects your body.
This next week, we challenge you to only do one thing at a time. Either eat or check Instagram or answer emails or do whatever needs to get done.
Remember, life is all about feeling fabulous!