Last week, I participated in the Loneeaters November Challenge.
I failed big time; however, in losing the challenge, I gained some incredible insight about my eating habits.
Never eat alone.
As Loneeaters clarifies, “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.”
Admittedly, I’m not so bold as to initiate conversation with a total stranger when eating in public. (I’ll often be happy to reciprocate on the rare occasion someone approaches me, though.) Instead, I sought out family and friends who would be keen to dine with me.
The challenge took place between Sunday, November 8 and Saturday, November 14:
- Save for one day, I had at least one meal by myself every day.
- Most days, I ate lunch alone.
- Except for Sunday, I enjoyed dinner with at least one other person.
- For my “lonely lunches,” I was at home.
- The one shared lunch I had was at a nearby deli.
- I shared dinners at home (with family) or at a restaurant (with friends).
- Meals at home were a combination of homemade lunches/dinners and takeout.
N.B.: I did not include breakfast in this challenge, the reasons being that I either skip it completely (not good) or eat something small while I work (not much better). I also didn’t consider snacks, but I didn’t catch myself snacking a lot.
Coordinating lunch dates is difficult: I work from home, and my friends are situated in various areas. We all work on different schedules, so getting times to align was futile. The one lunch date I did have was with a friend who was at a job site close to my house; the end of her workday was around my regular lunchtime.
Dinner, meanwhile, is easier to figure out: I finish work at 5 pm, as do most of my friends. Barring extracurriculars in the evening, organizing dinner dates was less trying than sorting out lunch plans.
Working at home can be lonely: While I like the autonomy that comes with remote work, I sometimes miss the camaraderie of a traditional workplace. I can only talk to my cats so much before I wonder whether or not I should be committed.
Balance is key: I don’t mind eating alone, whether it’s at home or in public. However, it can get boring, especially at home. I enjoyed the opportunity to get out of the house and share stories with friends over a meal.
We’re all busy: My lunch date informed me that being able to sit down and enjoy her lunch is atypical of her daily routine, as her job often has her eating on the go. It’s sad, yet not uncommon for people to either skip lunch breaks altogether or wolf down a nuked meal at their desks (or in their cars!) in order to contend with overwhelming workloads.
Moving forward, I am going to try to:
- Arrange for more lunch dates, as difficult as it may be, given time restraints and geographical differences. I know it won’t be a daily occurrence, but even having lunch with friends a few times a month would be refreshing.
- Change up my routine when eating alone. Time to give the mindless Internet browsing a break. I should catch up on some reading instead. (I have a Kindle full of books unread!)
- Eat breakfast…like I mean it. It’s the most important meal of the day, so I should treat it as such.
Thanks again to Loneeaters for providing me with this challenge. Learn more about their efforts to promote the culture of solo dining here. You can also give them a “Like” on Facebook or a “Follow” on Twitter.
The Monday Question
Would you attempt the “never eat alone” challenge? If you follow through with it, make sure to let me and the Loneeaters crew know how it goes!
Til next Monday!