Five Reasons to Eat Alone Differently

1. Hijack Habits

Sometimes we back ourselves into a corner where it seems we have no options. I think it’s when we start to examine our habits, find they annoy us, but have no idea how to change them. We try our best to ignore it while we’re doing it, and then it develops into a paralysing, thoughtless, choice-less, unsatisfying habit. 

I think lots of us have got into modes of being like that with loneeating. We’ve got the series downloaded while we reheat the dinner, and our plate is clean before we dare to think about what we’re doing. I think when we get into a situation like that, we need to do something weird. Something really strange and completely different from the habit, to suddenly start seeing a range of options again. I think of it like hacking or hijacking your habits. Tapping into them with a screwdriver and scattering them over the room. Then you can start to think and choose again.

2. Lone is not Group Minus People

When we eat alone it can be tempting to stick to the same habits that work when we eat with other people. But are those habits relevant when we're dining alone? Do we actually need the large, flat surface of a table? It’s very convenient for arranging multiple people, pots and dishes, but looses necessity with one eater. What would be a more suitable method of lone dining? 

Copying group eating habits also serves as a reminder of absence of people, and makes it easy to compare lone and non-lone experiences. But is it relevant to compare them? Maybe they're two separate things and loneeating needs to develop without the grandfather of group eating looking over its shoulder. Dining in a new place without the ghosts of dining partners past could be the best way to start that process, and open up options to do things that wouldn't be possible in groups. 

3. Variety Occurs in HOW we Eat

When we eat alone, there's no option to change the group of people, or have new conversations. We're pretty much stuck with who we are, and whatever internal monologue we've got going on. What food we eat, and how we eat it is still very much up open to change though, far more so when loneeating than group eating. Eating in different places focuses on two aspect of how we eat, the location and therefore the position. By being diverse in that, we can start to take advantage of the opportunities eating alone offers. Perhaps the new ritual of eating alone will actually be to eat in lots of different places. 


4. Widen your Comfort Zone

I’m really inspired by a phrase I heard from Verna Myers on her TED talk

“walk toward your discomfort”

I think it’s such a beautiful and strong image. It was on a the subject of overcoming racial biases, but I think it’s applicable for almost every issue. Doing new things and daring to change is of course going to be uncomfortable. Perhaps that's actually the best guide for doing the right thing, to choose what feels the most alien and the least comforting. Then walk towards it and you’ll actually be learning new stuff and expanding your choices. 

By walking towards eating in different places, you'll be widening your comfort zone of loneeating experiences. It enables you to do more and find new edges of your discomfort, whilst lounging in an increasingly large range of comfortable choices.


5. Creating Space

Last one, and it's a good one. If we constantly stuff our life full of things to do, we're never going to be surprised at what we're doing and learn new ways of being. We need to make space for those experiences. Just as you create the space to have nice conversations by organising a dinner party, you can create the space to have a contemplative meal by changing your routine and eating in a different place with no distractions.


What do you think? Does any of this tempt you to eat in different places? Do you feel stuck in your loneeating habits?Do you differentiate your lone and group eating habits? Would you prefer to have more choice? 

To get involved, please do the MAY CHALLENGE which is all about eating in different places, and let us know how you got on. Do you think it helped you think about eating alone in a new way?