Ok, this is not a great title, but...... I felt inspired to write this article and I am super curious if the same principal, "sitting your arse down" (whilst eating), will yield the same results for you.
As a former overeater and chubster (not to mention health coach), I eat simply. I find that by eating the same food and same amount during my working week it eliminates the decision making and temptation of eating foods that might not be the healthiest, thus preventing me from falling into the pit of binging.
However, for the last year or so I had found my lunch time favourites were no longer satisfying me the same and I was increasing my portion size to feel full. I didn't understand why? I seemed to be doing the same things, I was particularly stressed and busy at that time but the amount of mental and physical activity I was doing was more or less the same, I needed to eat a bigger lunch to feel satisfied.
I let it go...well tried to, but my pants were becoming a bit too snug for my liking.
Several months ago I began to visit my Mother in law weekly at her home in Sydney. She is a super elegant lady and everything she does is with finesse, including making a simple tuna salad for yours truly, the food she serves looks like it belongs on the cover of Vogue Entertainment. The plate is a normal size, and the amount is smaller than my usual lunch. I sit down, knife and fork in hand, my 3 year old little sprog contented and start to consume the food. But half way through I have to sit back and rest my stomach. With a bit of a sigh I try to finish it but..... I realise...I am done... totally stuffed.
I could eat not one more mouthful, and there was still half of the food left (don't worry I ate it later).
I was dumbfounded. I continued to visit my Mother in law weekly, and every week without fail I couldn't finish off the food. I couldn't understand it.
Then it clicked.
My lunch had become simply a activity I squeezed into my chores
The whole lunching experience at my Mother in laws was totally totally different from that I practiced whilst alone and at work.
Unlike my away lunch at my in laws, my egg or tuna salad was generally thrown on one of the Ikea plastic plates of the kids. It had no style at all. The salad looked like mown grass and the tuna was treated with as little respect as a pet fly. I would eat my lunch whilst practicing a yoga tree asana at the kitchen bench, between putting the dishes in the dishwasher, and taking out of the laundry.
My lunch had become simply an activity I squeezed into my chores. I didn't enjoy it, I was too busy, and in fact I didn't really even chew my food to taste it, let alone chew it so I could digest it. I would eat my food with a fork, using a knife was too time consuming all whilst running around to get things done. I was simply not allowing my body enough time (and calm) to even register the food I was eating, and consequently delaying the feeling of being full until it was too late and I had demolished way more food that I needed.
I teach people to relax and enjoy their food yet I was totally ignoring my own advice.
For many Mums this is a daily challenge. We are so busy that having lunch whilst sat at a table with a proper set of cutlery and taking time to chew our food, is seen as a guilty luxury that is only reserved for special date nights.
Not only are we setting a bad example for our kids by not giving ourselves time to eat, but we are sending crazy signals to our body. And worse still this stressful way of eating can in some cases increase cortisol levels, which can in turn cause us to store and conserve fat for our survival, aka fight or flight, causing us to actually put on weight rather than lose it.
As Mums we have to make time to eat....properly. Not only to set an example, but to just take a selfless moment for ourselves to enjoy what we put into our body and give our body a chance to actually be in the moment. You don't really save much time, a few minutes. Are those few minutes really going to make a difference to your productivity or efficiency? I am thinking not.
If you can take 10 minutes or lets go crazy and say 15 or 20 minutes to sit down and mindfully eat a meal, we will seem more benefits than we bargained for. To eat in a stress less (or reduced stressed) state will not only result in you eating less, but your digestion and mental state will thank you for it.
Women go to all lengths to eat less and consequently weigh less. But what if consuming less was just a matter of sitting our arse down and being mindful of what we are chewing, eating and putting into our bodies.
So the moral of the story is this. Sit down. I know you are busy. But you owe it to yourself to take time to eat properly and in the "luxury" of a chair (an adult one at that).
If you found this article helpful or indeed decided to take charge of your lunch and make it more formal I would love to hear from you and any benefits you experienced.
Yours in wellness