When Sitting Down Is Good For You
Do you sit down to eat?
I’m not talking about family dinner in the evening (though, if you manage that nightly, you’re already doing great!)
I'm talking about taking a seat for breakfast, even if it’s just a quick smoothie that you sip before a packed day.
I’m talking about parking yourself at a table instead of the computer while you dig into your salad for lunch.
Hard to remember? You’re not alone! Like all of us, I’m guilty of falling into the busy trap and not prioritizing meal times. Instead of serving my food on a plate, I snack over the sink; instead of savoring my meal, I scroll through social media.
But when we do this, we do ourselves a disservice: sitting down for meals is a source of calm, nourishment and pleasure. And we can claim those valuable things for ourselves, every time we pause to eat.
The act of feeding yourself is a simple-yet-sacred one: you're giving your body the essential nutrients and energy that it needs to do all of the things that you ask of it throughout the day. (There’s a reason that Italians, who traditionally sit down for a lengthy lunch midday, always seem so happy!) When we eat on the run, we neglect all of the ways that food can strengthen and sustain us…
It Makes You Present. Paying attention to each bite helps you chew more slowly, acknowledge when you’re full (and when you need a little more!) and tunes you into your other senses too. Spending a few minutes throughout the day connected to your body will quickly put you in sync with its needs – and allow you to listen to it to help guide you (and your food story!) in the right direction.
It Maximizes Your Metabolism. When you dine and dash, your body interprets it as stress – and releases insulin and cortisol to cope. The result? You may not digest and assimilate the nutrients and get optimal nutrition from your meal. Sitting down and taking five deep breaths before you eat puts your body in a relaxed state so you get the full value of the meal.
It Brings You Joy. There’s a reason that restaurants thrive: dining on great food is a joyful experience! Of course, not every meal can be a multi-course sensory explosion. But taking a moment to really appreciate the freshness of your food can help you enjoy it that much more.
It Creates Community. Of course, we can’t eat every meal surrounded by friends and family, but sharing food is one of the best ways to connect and bond with others. Eating together is an opportunity to decompress and catch up on our lives. We tell stories, laugh, support each other, and make new memories.
So how do we find the time to sit down to eat?
- Get Up Early – Just 10 extra minutes spent enjoying a muffin and matcha latte while the sun streams through your windows will refresh you in a way that hitting “snooze” just can’t.
- Prep in Adavance – A little meal-planning goes a long way! It’s so much easier to pop a pre-prepped smoothie into the blender or toss together some pre-assembled veggies into a bowl than to stand peering into the fridge trying to come up with a meal in the moment – and you lose good sitting time in the process!
- Use a Plate – Yes, a real plate. Instead of reaching for a to-go mug, eat your chia pudding in a bowl and garnish it as you would for a friend. All those beautiful colors (and nutrients!) help start your morning with love… and set the tone for the rest of the day!
- Stow Your Phone – We’re all guilty of social media overload. Make mealtime your respite from the feed and, instead of coveting your favorite influencer’s picture-perfect food, spend a little time appreciating your own from the comfort of your chair.