Why You Need To Eat Alone Sometimes
No matter where you’re from, what your religion is or what sort of culture you grew up in, you’ve probably always experienced eating as a social activity. At work, everyone gets their lunch break around the same time, encouraging communal eating in the break room. Major holidays revolve around meals, with an entire phone tree communicating for days before the actual event, coordinating who is bringing what. It’s hard not to think of food and friends and family, but if you are trying to achieve certain weight or health goals, you may want to consider dining solo—at least for some of your meals. Having people around affects your mindset significantly, which affects how you eat. Here are some of the benefits of eating alone.
You are more conscious of what you eat
Here’s a big one! You aren’t so distracted by conversation that you shovel food into your mouth without thinking. Having to actively listen, and formulate responses, distracts you from being aware of when you are full.
People can’t influence how much you eat
You won’t have friends around saying, “Wow—you’re eating a lot” or friends saying, “You should eat more—you barely touched your food.” You know when you’re full, and you don’t need anyone’s input on the subject.
People can’t influence what you eat
You won’t feel pressured to try this or have more of that. If you’re dining out, then you can order whatever you want—no need to get something everyone will want to share—and if you’re eating at home, then you truly only have to worry about your tastes.
You can do some much-needed thinking
Sometimes, mealtime is the only time you get to yourself all day. Mealtime is a good thirty minutes when you can meditate on the day, reflect on things, and even do some problem-solving.
You can actually eat on your schedule
You don’t have to eat snacks at 6 pm to hold you over until the 8 pm dinner your friend planned, or eat when you aren’t hungry at the really early lunch your mother insisted you have. Eating on your body’s schedule is the best for you.
You’ll probably drink less alcohol
When you’re with friends, the alcohol just starts flowing. Before you know it, somebody ordered another pitcher of Sangria when you weren’t looking. Now you’re partaking in that, which is loosening your inhibitions around food.
You can eat as fast or as slow as you want
You don’t need to rush because your friend needs to be out of there in 45 minutes, nor do you need to feel pressured to sit through a two-hour lunch to be polite. You can eat at your own pace and really feel when you are full.
When you do socialize, you’ll be more present
It’s easy to leave meals feeling like you barely got to catch up with your friends—you were too focused on asking for more ketchup, or keeping an eye on the shared plate of fries to make sure you got some, to really talk. If you eat alone, then when you do meet up with friends, you can focus on each other.
If you eat out, you’ll spend less
When you’re at a restaurant, group mentality can take over quickly. Before you know it, everybody has agreed to order five appetizers for the table, and three bottles of wine. If you eat alone, you’ll be more conscious of your spending.
You can eavesdrop
Oh, don’t pretend you don’t enjoy listening in on the conversations of your fellow diners, or hearing the restaurant staff gossip about the two servers who are secretly dating.
You can finally get some reading done
Haven’t you been meaning to read that one book? If you ate dinners or lunches alone, you could probably finally make your way through it.
People respect it
People have a lot of respect for someone who is confident enough to eat alone. And I mean truly alone (aka not on your phone with a friend, or perusing social media platforms). It shows that you really love yourself, because you love spending time just with you!
You can ask the server all the questions you want
Servers usually have a soft spot for the solo diner, and they’re happy to finally show off a little of their knowledge about the menu. When you dine with others, you probably feel pressured to hurry up and order, but when you dine alone, you can ask the server for suggestions, and ask questions about the food.
You won’t feel self-conscious about your order
You will order whatever you want, free from fear of judgment. If you want to order some odd combination of spicy wings and just the meatballs from the spaghetti and meatball dish, go for it.
You could make a buddy
If you dine at the counter or bar of a restaurant, you will usually end up chit chatting with the other solo diners, and you could make a friend!