Sitting while you eat, seems like it should be second nature…
but I’d be willing to bet many of you reading this either don’t do it all the time, or never sit while eating unless you’re out to dinner (distracted computer eating is practically the same).
Our brains are going in MANY different directions- with a fast paced work week, busy life, kids, career, obligations, I’m finding more and more that clients are telling me they’re eating on the go (or eating very distracted) most of the time.
You see, this is a real problem.
Why is distracted/eating on the go an issue?
The process of digestion begins when we LOOK at our food, yes that’s right- just by looking at our food (not even eating), we start to prepare our bodies for food. The process of digestion is a lot more than chewing and swallowing, it’s about sending messages from our brain out to our body that it’s time to start digestion.
Here’s what happens when we start to visualize the concept of eating (in a simplified form!):
- we produce more saliva (that also contains more digestive enzymes)
- our stomach, and muscles in the diaphragm and gut start to relax to prepare for the food
- we produce more digestive enzyme (various forms)
- our bodies hear a message of “rest and digest” which puts us into a parasympathetic (relaxed) state to allow for the process of digestion– digestion does NOT happen when we’re stressed and in a fight or flight mode.
This is a simplified version of what happens, but hopefully you get the message.
So what happens when we don’t get into this modified state of existence in preparation for the food?
Well, nothing. We don’t get into the rest and digest mode, and instead produce less digestive enzyme, less saliva and all the rest.
Basically, when we eat in a state of distraction, we can encounter poorer nutrient absorption, experience more gas and abdominal distention, likely you’re also chewing less because you’re in a hurry too, and for many of us this process can lead to really poor digestion and chronic IBS-like symptoms. Working on someones eating habits can actually ameliorate many IBS-like symptoms, without actually changing the type of food someone eats (which I why I frequently work on someones habits before food changes!).
So, for better digestion, greater satiety (turns out simply LOOKING at our food can really help with this!), improved symptoms of bloating, and so much more… take a seat while you eat.
Not only that, but create a space for yourself while you eat that you actually want to be in. This does include place settings, and heck even cloth napkins if you can. There is a method to tabletop-madness, because the more relaxed and happier we feel while we eat, the more sated we feel, and the better our food digests.
More coming soon on my fave tabletop accessories you must purchase…
Here’s a checklist for you to consider as you sit down to your next meal:
- Cleared 15-20 minutes for your meal
- Set a place setting (or cleared space on your desk)
- Shoved electronics aside
- Looking at food before eating
- Glass of water next to the meal (8-10 oz in max size)
- Seated while eating
- Take a few deep breaths to relax before you start to eat
This blog post is meant to just get you thinking we’ll have more on some favorite tabletop accessories coming soon!