Do You Ever Sit Down?
Is this how you eat:
- Standing over the sink?
- Hovering over the island in your kitchen?
- Picking bites off your kids’ plates?
- On your way out the door?
- Crumbs falling on your lap as you drive?
Who has time to SIT for a meal? I am busy. You are busy. And what's the difference if I take my green smoothie in the car on the way to yoga (guilty as charged) or actually sit at the table with it? It's a healthy choice whether I am sipping and driving or pulling up a chair. Isn’t it?
Slow down there, Speedy. You are missing out on one simple habit that leads to abundant energy, a sharper mind and can even help you lose weight. You will think I am crazy because it is just so basic. No tricks. No expensive magic potions, pills or shakes. No sweat lodges in the middle of the desert. Ready?
Sit down. Relax. Eat
Here is why:
Awareness. When you sit down, you are actually making eating an activity as opposed to eating while doing some other activity. By staying awake at the plate, you are more likely to make smarter choices as you focus on what you are eating and also how you are eating (chewing slowly and tasting your food).
Maximize Metabolism. If you multi-task and shove food in your mouth as you rush out the door, your body perceives it as stress. When you are in a state of stress, you increase the production of insulin and cortisol causing a dramatic rise in nutrient excretion and a decline in calorie-burning capacity. Ultimately, this impacts your body’s fat burning capacity and can cause unwanted weight gain. So before you eat, supercharge your metabolism by taking five deep breaths and relaxing.
The Pleasure Principle. By sitting down and relaxing around your food, you are more likely to fully enjoy the meal. When you have a pleasurable eating experience, then you feel more satiated. This not only reduces cravings, but it can also lead to better weight control since you will be satisfied and less likely to overeat.
But my life is crazy and I don't have time to sit down…
I know. I know. And whenever I hear this (which is daily in my practice), this is what I suggest:
- Get up 10 minutes earlier to eat breakfast and pack up healthy snacks (see Attack of the Snack Monster Blog Post for inspiration)
- Practice thoughtful advanced meal planning so that you make smart choices throughout the day.
- Adopt the habit of putting your food on a plate, so it actually feels like a meal.
- Read The Slow Down Diet by my mentor, Marc David, for a deeper understanding on the importance of eating in a relaxed state.
Simple enough. Now, I have to admit that with the increased demands in my life (thank you Kale & Chocolate community!), I have fallen off the wagon or more appropriately I have fallen off the seat. So, join me and let’s make it our goal together to get back to this habit of sitting down more often for meals and reap the benefits that come with an efficient metabolism, increased energy, enhanced mental clarity and weight control.
Question of the day: In addition to sitting down to eat, what are some of your other favorite mealtime rituals?