Are you new to eating alone consciously? Unsure how to start?

Try one of these CHALLENGES to help you get into the swing of things.


JANUARY:

Enjoy eating dinner in front of the TV or watching a film.

 

This is the type of loneeating I'm best at. This is my comfort zone, and it's amazing.

Most of the challenges are actually about forcing yourself not to do this: eat in strange places, become more conscious, take more time, be more adventurous. But as the months have rolled on I've realised how much I do value this type of loneeating.

Maybe it's the time of year. As everyone plans to change and become better people, I thought I'd go back to what I am good at. Because not everyone looks forward to an evening alone. Not everyone beams in delight as the opening credits and music begin. Not everyone can feel satisfied with tinned food for dinner.

But I do. And I think it's important that everyone gets the chance to enjoy it.

I'd still consider myself a journeyman when it comes to eating alone while watching TV, but here are a few pointers:

1. Choose to do it. If you don't have enough to do and your looking to 'kill time' I doubt you'll enjoy eating alone in front of the TV. It'll end up feeling empty and boring.

2. Plan. Don't just mindlessly scroll through the endless reams of online video's, think what you want to watch. Download, pay for it, buffer it.

3. Be kind to yourself. Do you think you're uncool because you're doing this? Do you think, if you were better, you'd be doing something better? Or with someone better? You're wrong. You're accepting your life as it is and choosing to enjoy it. I can't think of anything cooler.

Tweet and Instagram your journey with the hashtag #lonechallenge or including the @loneeaters handle, or email article@loneeaters.com with the full story.

FEBRUARY:

Date Yourself.

That's right! Jumping on the bandwagon a bit with this one, but it's a great idea and a real example of positive emerging loneculture. Check out #dateyourself on Instagram if you need convincing.

It's very simple. Do something you want to do, that's special enough that you'd class it as a date if you were with someone else.

The two classic examples are: go to the cinema by yourself and have dinner in a restaurant by yourself.

They're a great place to start, but of course do whatever you personally feel will be the most rewarding and challenging.

Go to an exhibition, go iceskating/bouldering/swimming, go to the seaside. It's your date, plan what you'd like!

Tweet and Instagram your journey with the hashtag #lonechallenge or including the @loneeaters handle, or email article@loneeaters.com with the full story.

 

MARCH and APRIL:

You decide! Send your ideas to hello@loneeaters.com.

 

MAY:

Eat alone in different places around the house.

 

This is a great way to get out of your routines and explore your options in the place you know best. Eat on the floor? Eat somewhere with a view? Eat as high as you can get in your house? Eat on your balcony? A couple of us have already done the challenge, so check out MayaSimon and Sarah for inspiration. 

We'd love to hear how you got on! Post your experiences with the hashtag #lonechallenge or including the @loneeaters handle, or send a short text and a few photo's to article@loneeaters.com for your chance to be featured on the website.

Happy Loneeating!

 

JUNE:

Okay, now it's time to get out of the house.

Grab your food. Set an alarm for 10 minutes. Walk as far as you can get, then sit down and eat. 

 

This is another way to hack your loneeating habits. By forcibly changing your actions you'll make way for new thoughts and experiences. It can also be a fun way to explore your neighbourhood and get some gentle exercise. Check out Sarah's experience, 'Go Outside and Gain Perspective'. 

Go on, take the challenge. Then get back to us with a brief text or some images that we can post to share you're experience with other loneeaters.

Together we can stride across the murky depths of eating alone.

Tweet and Instagram your journey with the hashtag #lonechallenge or including the @loneeaters handle, or email article@loneeaters.com with the full story.

See how Sarah and Maya got on in 'Go Outside and Gain Perspective' and 'Perilous June Challenge'.

 

JULY:

Cook yourself a dinner party.

JulyChallengeLoneeaters
 

Okay, this challenge focuses on how you’re preparing your food, not how you’re eating it. 

When loneeating, it’s really common not to bother preparing ‘proper’ food. ‘Proper’ can mean almost anything to different people so I’ll clarify it here by saying: ‘proper’ food is food you’d serve to other people. Pretend your cooking a dinner party - just make the quantities for one. 

Plan a lovely meal, cook it with yourself for company (no distractions like music or tv), then eat however you want.

Tweet and Instagram your journey with the hashtag #lonechallenge or including the @loneeaters handle, or email article@loneeaters.com with the full story.

Happy lonepreparing!

See how Sarah got on in 'Cook Yourself a Dinner Party'.

 

AUGUST:

Document what you eat when you're alone.

 

Check out what other Loneeaters are getting up to when they do these challenges:

The main argument for this is when you document what you're doing, you actually CHANGE what you're doing. At least that's what I found, when I documented everything I ate in a week of loneeating.

Nothing in the week I documented was gourmet cooking, and in fact I didn’t realise I was putting in extra effort, but in the weeks subsequent I noticed how much less organised my meals were, how much more unconsidered and squeezed in. I could write an article comparing the two in the coming weeks but for now...it's your turn!

You can choose what you exactly document. If you eat all your meals alone you might try documenting them for a week as I did, but for example if you eat alone only two nights a week it might be interesting to document that for a whole month. Either way, set a time frame, photograph everything you eat within that, take notes as you go, and see what happens.

I would love it if you wanted to share your experiences. It would be fascinating to get an insight into other's loneeating habits which normally remain secret! If you'd like the whole community to benefit from your experience, email your photos + text, organised chronologically for each day ('breakfast', 'lunch' and 'dinner' if you want or just 1, 2, 3 etc if it's not structured like that) to article@loneeaters.com.

Tweet and Instagram your journey with the hashtag #lonechallenge or including the @loneeaters handle.

 

SEPTEMBER:

Find five references in modern culture to eating alone.

DeliaSmithOneisFun
 

Loneeaters is all about exploring the culture of eating alone, so it doesn't just matter what you're doing, it matters what everyone else is doing around you. That's why this month's challenge is to keep your nose to the ground and document every mention of eating alone you see. 

You can scroll down the Loneeaters twitter page for some examples: maybe someone is eating alone in a TV program you're watching? Screenshot it. Is someone tweeting about eating alone? Reply or retweet. What is their experience? Or if you see an advert on the street, how is eating alone being portrayed? Photograph it. The most recent ones I've found is a copy of an old Delia Smith book about cooking for one and a recent blog post about the same subject. 

Tweet and Instagram your journey with the hashtag #lonechallenge or including the @loneeaters handle, or email article@loneeaters.com with the full story.

 

OCTOBER:

Eat alone without processed food for a week.

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The term 'processed food' is broad enough that anyone can find a challenge within it. 

For some of you jam might be a processed food, for others pre-made pizza bases won't be. For me, processed food is stuff like: shop brought sandwiches, cakes, frozen pizza and restaurant food; it doesn't include stuff like: bread, pasta, mayonnaise, tofu, and breakfast cereal which are of course processed wheat, egg and soya bean. 

So, first step of the challenge, what do you define as 'processed' food?

Second step, how can you plan ways only eat 'unprocessed' food?

Tweet and Instagram your journey with the hashtag #lonechallenge or including the @loneeaters handle, or email article@loneeaters.com with the full story.

 

NOVEMBER 2015:

Never eat alone.

Wow. This challenge scares me.

 

I do this partly for all the people who are still surprised when I tell them people regularly eat alone, 'Really? People eat alone? How sad... I guess some people must do.' When actually the statistics are staring us in the face, and with around half of all adult eating occasion happening alone, someone who never ate alone would be a very rare find. So, if you're one of those people, give this challenge a whirl and let me know how it goes.

For those who aren't surprised, you may well already be worrying about the logistics, 'Even breakfast? Even snacks? What if my housemate/lover/child/parent is late home?'

I have no idea. It does seem impossible, but then that's why it's called a challenge.

One rule: eating with someone is defined by being in conversation with them. You can't eat in a crowded public place and call it eating with people. You can however get chatting to one of them, and then eat.

Good Luck. 

Tweet and Instagram your journey with the hashtag #lonechallenge or including the @loneeaters handle, or email article@loneeaters.com with the full story.

 

DECEMBER 2015:

Cook five new recipes for yourself.

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For me, what's great about loneeating is the 'Unilateral Fried Veg Moments', as mentioned in 'When is it not okay to be a Loneeater?'. The moments we can spontaneously whip something yummy up with minimal ingredients and no planning. They're beautiful moments: satisfying and economical.

However, we can all get stuck in a rut and by adding five interesting new recipes we can broaden our cooking vocabulary so next time you're looking at an ‘empty’ fridge you think...Cabbage Omelette! or...That Pumpkin Stew I Made Yesterday! (Not…Mayonnaise Sandwiches? Another Cup of Tea and Be Hungry?)

This challenge is of course related to planning (the previous version of it was Plan what you're going to eat for a week) but I found that too restrictive and so am giving you this fun little adventure instead! You need to sit down, find some nice recipes, buy all the ingredients, spend the time to cook them and be comfortable with the fact you're spending all this time on YOURSELF.

Three cheers to discovering new ways of loneeating! 

Tweet and Instagram your journey with the hashtag #lonechallenge or including the @loneeaters handle, or email article@loneeaters.com with the full story.