Where you eat matters to your weight

Do It on the Kitchen Table
January 2015 |

If you’re eating anywhere other than at a table, then you’re setting yourself up for unwanted weight gain.

When food is eaten anywhere other than at a designated dining area in the house, such as a kitchen table or breakfast bar, less focus is put on the meal and more on the distractions around us.  As a result, we may consume additional unwanted calories simply because we’re not paying attention to what we’re doing.

Having a designated dining area allows for more complete meals to be enjoyed.  Taking the time to set the table and eating off a plate with a knife and fork creates an experience as opposed to a chore.  Fixing yourself a plate allows you to see what and how much you’re eating.  It’s a good chance to evaluate your meal and

Source: ChoseMyPlate.gov

Source: ChoseMyPlate.gov

determine if that plate is half fruit & veggies, 1/4 starch, and 1/4 meat or other protein source.  Sounds different than what you’re used to eating at meals?  Then it’s time to have a seat and take a look at that plate!

Sitting down at the table with your significant other is like being on a casual dinner date.  It gives you a chance to talk, whether it’s about the weird dream you had the night before or your terrible commute that day.  A table also provides a place to put your fork down between bites, take a sip of water, and give the food a chance to settle in to your stomach while you chat.  Plus, what’s enjoyable about sitting on the couch and balancing a hot plate of food on your lap while trying to cut a piece of chicken?

The final kecouple eatingy is making your eating environment a distraction-free zone.  No TV, iPhones, or anything else that can take attention away from your food and your partner.  Distracted eating leads to mindless eating which leads to overeating.  It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain it’s full.  So if you’re sitting in front of the TV watching Big Bang Theory reruns while you eat, you’re not giving your body a chance to tell you it’s full until too late.  Plus, how are you and your spouse able to connect if you’re sitting in silence watching TV and shoving food in your mouths?

It’s definitely tempting to want to eat in front of the TV or computer when you are dining solo.  But those are the times when it’s most important to be disciplined while eating.  Creating these habits in ourselves allows us to practice them when others are present.  Not only will your relationship benefit, but also your waistline.  A recent study at Cornell found that adults who ate meals at distraction-free tables had a lower BMI* compared to those who ate at other locations in the home with distractions present- and the same is also true for children.

Whether you’re already settled into your home or getting ready to move into a place together, make it a priority to set up a designated dining area.  You wouldn’t forget to buy a mattress, so why would you leave your mouth and stomach homeless?

*Body Mass Index= comparison of height vs weight used to measure risk for obesity and chronic disease

(Hint! Most stores with registries will give you a discount after your wedding date on items that were not purchased from your registry. So don’t be afraid to put big ticket items on the registry. And who knows, maybe some nice family members will chip in to buy it for you!)  

Where do you typically eat your meals?  Make it a goal to have all your meals at the kitchen table this week.  Tell me how it goes in the comments below!

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