Curbing restless eating?
June 6, 2014 6:54 AM   Subscribe

I am by nature a restless, fidgety person, and when I'm eating out with friends, this tendency manifests as restless eating -- just because the food is there and I want something to do with my hands and with myself. It happens almost unconsciously. Any tips on how to avoid this behavior?
posted by shivohum to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe take up knitting? Every knitter I know brings their stuff along with them and always seems to have something to do with their hands.
posted by xingcat at 7:00 AM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

Replace it with restless water drinking and restless napkin twisting (if this can be done subtly).

Put the food in the furthest corner of the table from you, until you can ask the server to take it.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 7:01 AM on June 6, 2014

Put gum in your mouth when you're done.
posted by headnsouth at 7:04 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Napkin over the plate helps me a bit with just that, otherwise I pick at things forever even when I know I don't really want them. It's also a good signal for the waitstaff to take the plate away sooner than later. I also agree with knitting or something else that will keep your hands busy being a good thing to take up for general purposes if you're that sort.
posted by Sequence at 7:06 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I came to suggest knitting as well.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:22 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm a knitter (and a quick, fidgety eater/drinker) and I'd advise against taking up knitting as a distraction in restaurants. I'll sometimes knit before the food arrives if I know the people I'm with will be okay with it, but I don't like having my knitting out around food, and some people find it rude (see this previous question).

Instead, I recommend practicing being aware of your eating habits while you're out, and taking steps to slow them down. Cut things into smaller pieces. Count how many times you chew each bite, put your silverware down between bites, stuff like that. If you're sharing appetizers with people, pace yourself to match them or be slower. Order a glass of water and a drink, and alternate sips. Things like this will absorb some of that restlessness without speeding through your food.

I also find that the more involved I am in conversation, the less I need to fidget or snack. If you tend to be quiet in groups, see if you can involve yourself in the conversation more, or just really focus on what everyone's saying.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:50 AM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

You can ruin your food by dumping a ton of salt on it, so you won't pick at it before the waitstaff take it away.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:20 AM on June 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

If there's room on the table, I physically move my plate such that it's no longer in front of me or anyone else, and the restaurant staff usually takes it away a minute or so later.

If I have leftovers and I'd like to keep them, I ask to have the food boxed up. Even if other people are still picking away at their own plates. I always expect to be given a hard time for this, but in practice no one has ever even raised an eyebrow.

Failing all of that yeah, napkin over your plate.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 8:32 AM on June 6, 2014

Learn how to make an origami crane? You can do this with a lot of restaurant materials (paper from chopsticks, candy wrappers, those paper rings that go around napkins, beer labels, empty sugar packets . . .), if you practice making small ones.
posted by yarntheory at 9:12 AM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you wear jewelry, maybe a puzzle or spinner ring? Some more ideas for keeping one's hands busy in a group setting are in this ask.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:38 AM on June 6, 2014

This is why I carry pens in my purse -- in a pinch, I can pull out a pen and start doodling on a drink coaster or cocktail napkin if I'm feeling restless. (This only applies in casual situations, not formal dinners or client meetings.)
posted by palomar at 1:25 PM on June 6, 2014

I would be hesitant about turning into a habitual sipper instead. Drinking a lot of water during or right after a meal can inhibit proper digestion and cause your body to flush nutrients rather than absorbing them because it's trying to quickly process all the liquid.

I'd suggest taking up doodling, or learn how to fold dollar bills and leave fun shapes for the tip. Alternately, if you're willing to put up with a couple of odd looks or questions, there are products out there with various names that are specifically for fidgeters. I use them during difficult exams because otherwise I get so unbearably restless that I sometimes can't finish the exams.

Can't quickly figure out how to insert a link the right way, so here's the messy version:
posted by Urban Winter at 2:28 PM on June 6, 2014

« Older Looking for a type of self-test on ballpark...   |   Network drive for windows? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.