Meals & Multitasking: Bad Combo

FRESNO, Calif.

You can't tell now, but fitness trainer Bonnie Matthews once weighed 130 pounds more. The 47-year-old blames most of that weight on poor lifestyle and food choices.

"I would eat whatever… sandwiches, ice cream, pizza," Matthews told Ivanhoe.

She worked from home as a freelance illustrator. Most of her day was spent typing, drafting … and eating at the same time.

"If you're not paying attention to what you're doing, you tend to forget almost that you're eating and potentially eat more than you would have if you were focused on strictly active eating," Dr. Jonathan Rich, from Mercy Medical Center, told Ivanhoe.

A new study shows how you eat may affect how much you eat. It found distracted eaters couldn't recall as much of their meal just 30 minutes after eating. They were also less full after eating and ate more during the study's taste test. That may mean weight gain, as Americans spend 25 more minutes eating per day than we did 30 years ago.

"It's really a matter of paying attention to the fact that you're eating and not treat it as a secondary activity," Dr. Rich said.

Matthews knows the benefits of focusing on food. Fewer distractions led to massive weight loss … and a spot on the Dr. Oz show.

"Portioning out my meals, thinking about what I'm going to have, when I'm going to do my intense workouts, and what kinds of foods I need for that day," Matthews explained to Ivanhoe.

Researchers say memory plays a key role in the regulation of food intake, and any distractions may cause a disruption.

Dan Collins/ Media Relations
Mercy Medical Center

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