LR silenceWelcome to our healthy lifestyle challenge lead by our program dietitian Vicki Bovee and her husband, Bill. Because we can always do better to live a healthier lifestyle Vicki and Bill decided to work on a weekly challenge together to provide support and accountability for each other and hopefully inspire you to make healthy changes. Follow along with them as they tackle a variety of challenges to eat better, eat more mindfully, and improve physical health and emotional well-being. Vicki and Bill invite you to participate and accept the challenges to improve your lifestyle too. Some of them may be difficult and please feel free to modify the challenges to accommodate your dietary needs and physical abilities.

Challenge #33 The sounds of silence
Back in September we powered down with challenge #10. We disconnected ourselves from electronics at lunch time. No computer, no checking phones for emails, no texting, no iPads or tablets. I ate my lunch in the break room instead of at my desk. I am pleased to say that I continue with this eating arrangement. Even if I am in there alone, I will eat my lunch sitting at the table (#1) and look out the window as I put my small fork (#15) down between bites (#5) and count my chews (#17).

Dinner tended to be another story. I prefer to eat at the table. Bill prefers to eat in front of the TV. According to Dr. Brian Wansink TV eating causes us to over eat for three reasons:
1. We eat out of habit and not hunger.
2. We don’t pay attention to how much we eat.
3. We pace ourselves by the show, meaning if the show isn’t over we keep eating.
But it’s not just the TV that is a problem. Any time we do something else while we eat we are distracted. And distracted eating usually means overeating.

Our challenge was to unplug for one hour at dinner and eat at the table. No TV, no music, no phone calls, no Smartphones, no computer, no iPad (Look at Bill. See Bill cry.) Nothing but the sounds of dinner cooking and our own voices. I loved it but Bill had a difficult time, especially the first few days. He is usually at the computer when I am in the kitchen and up until about one minute before he sits down to eat. He checked the clock to the minute before he sat down. When the hour was up Bill was on it. (Look at Bill. See Bill run to his computer. Bill can run fast to his computer.) Myself? I didn’t bother with turning anything on because I was enjoying the sounds of silence.

Vicki’s observations:
• I like eating at the table without distractions. I can practice eating slowly and paying attention to hunger and fullness cues.
• I sure was more relaxed making dinner because there wasn’t pressure to get it done and down to move on to something else.
• Sometimes we listen to relaxing music while we eat dinner. Turning down the lights and playing quiet music slows down eating, but we turned the music off altogether and I didn’t miss it.
• It gave us quality time together. We talked about all kinds of things. We don’t talk to each other while eating in front of the TV or even if just Bill eats in front of the TV. The TV doesn’t foster communication.

Bill’s observations:
• As Vicki said, I had a hard time in the beginning with this challenge. I looked at the clock and when the hour was up I would check my email. As the week progressed I was a bit better at not looking at the clock and stayed unplugged longer than the one hour.
• It is amazing how many of us live for the TV, iPad, computer or any thing that keeps us occupied. It was good to get back to just eating and talking.
• I really don’t enjoy dinner like many people do. I eat it because it is necessary to keep the body supplied with nutrients. It was good to take time to explore the taste of the food a bit more.

It doesn’t matter if you are eating with your family, friends or are eating alone. Just shut everything down for one hour. The world won’t end. Enjoy the silence. Who knows? It may become a habit.

35/350 is the buzz for next week. And this one worked for us! Check in next week for our recipe for success.

Eat Smarter…
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD

Want to catch up on what you’ve missed?
The road to success is always under construction
Challenge #1 Eat everything sitting down.
Challenge #2 Eliminate cheese as an ingredient.
Challenge #3 Walk sideways in your home.
Challenge #4 Include a fresh herb in your daily meal plan.
Challenge #5 If there is food in your mouth there should be nothing in your hand.
Challenge #6 Eat the MyPlate recommendations for fruits and vegetables.
Challenge #7  Stand (and walk if possible) while talking on the phone.
Challenge # 8 Don’t eat out of the package. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl.
Challenge # 9 Keep a food record.
Challenge # 10 Power down while eating.
Challenge # 11 Eating to reduce inflammation.
Challenge # 12 Eating to help our environment.
Challenge # 13 Switch it up.
Challenge # 14 The road to success is still under construction.
Challenge # 15 Little bites.
Challenge # 16 Drink your water.
Challenge # 17 Count your chews.
Challenge # 18 The 100 Bite Diet.
Challenge # 19 Start your day right.
Challenge # 20 Holiday moves.
Challenge # 21 Limit TV time.
Challenge # 22 The Paleo Diet: Eat Like a Caveman.
Challenge # 23 Sweet dreams.
Challenge # 24 What color is your plate?
Challenge # 25 Six month reflections
Challenge # 26 Retro-walking.
Challenge # 27 Gimme a high fiber
Challenge # 28 The Half Plate Rule
Challenge #29 Feel Good Week
Challenge #30 Try one new healthy food a day
Challenge #31 It’s a stretch
Challenge #32 TLC for heart health


WBI blue


Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, “Health and Lifestyle Program.”