This Is What Eating Lunch At Your Desk Every Day Is Doing To Your Mental And Physical Health
We know having a sandwich at a computer Monday to Friday isn’t ideal...
16 December 2020
Along with ghosting and online trolls, eating lunch ‘al desko’ has become a sadly common reality of modern life.
Many of us see it as a necessity – you feel like you’ve got so much work to do that you can’t step away for even a second. According to a survey commissioned by the National Charity Partnership, almost three in five UK employees eat lunch at their desk, giving reasons ranging from heavy workloads to the office culture.
Even though it might seem like a small portion of your day, what you decide to do with your lunch break can have a huge impact. Here are some of the potential mental and physical results of eating at your desk throughout the week.
“Desk dining generally means you’re not dedicating time to eat, which suggests you’re eating under undue stress and not eating in a mindful way,” says Rob Hobson, head of nutrition at Healthspan.
‘Mindful eating’ might sound like a made up wellness trend, but trust us – it’s a very real and positive thing.
“Distractions at your work desk divert your attention so the brain is unable to accurately register the amount of food that you’ve consumed,” explains psychologist Dr Aria Campbell-Danesh. “If you’re not paying attention to the food that you’re eating, this information is less likely to be stored in your memory bank. Research shows that eating when distracted makes it more difficult for people to remember how much they’ve eaten. With fewer memories of what they’ve had that day, later when they sit down for their next meal, they’re likely to eat significantly more.”
If you pay a bit more attention to what you’re eating, it seems to also be more likely you won’t snack as much later in the day. A study by the University of Birmingham in 2014 found that eating “attentively” decreased later snack intake by 30% for the overweight women participating.
Furthermore, you’re far more likely to finish everything on your plate if you’re not concentrating on what you’re eating. We’re not encouraging food waste but it’s definitely better to stop when you’re full and save the leftovers for later – rather than the overfamiliar feeling of realising far too late that you’re stuffed.