Number 3: Just like WHEN and HOW you eat, WHERE you eat affects digestion, and overall health and well being. Sit down while eating.
HOW you eat makes a difference, and within that, you’ll notice WHERE you eat is important. Without making time to sit down and eat, you’re liable to gobble the food wherever you are; standing, driving, or on the subway. Although I now live in San Diego, I still use my half century as a New Yorker for reference. If we’re not sitting and eating, we’re in fight or flight mode, period, and healthy digestion is impossible. Creating an optimal space WHERE you eat may require planning, but it’s a simple, (albeitnot easy), habit to improve your overall health and well being.
For most of us, eating while at the computer or TV, reading, or scrolling through social media is the norm, just like the woman pictured below. As I wrote in the HOW of eating, if we're not focused on the food, our body doesn't receive the message it's being nourished, and cannot digest, absorb and assimilate optimally. We'll often feel hungry soon after eating.
Do you give yourself permission to take the time to eat or is the rushing self imposed?
By prioritizing meals and slowing down, we feel better, which ultimately CREATES more time. But
you eat will often dictate
It's best to avoid eating in the same spot you're usually doing something else,
because we're reminded we need to get back to the task at hand. This bad habit is one I've struggled with since moving into my new apartment in La Jolla. I prefer working at the table in my main living space, because of the light. Since it's also near the kitchen, I began to eat there too, and found myself rushing. It's an ongoing process, but I now enjoy more of my meals at a table outside, which I'm lucky enough to be able to do most of the time!
Be creative and make small, simple shifts:
- Swivel your chair around so you're facing away from the desk and computer.
- Make a plan with a friend or colleague for a meal away from the office.
- Eat outside, weather permitting, or inside at a community space or cafeteria.
- Eat while seated, at a table. You'll naturally slow down and be more present to the HOW of eating.
- Avoid eating while driving. If you're pressed for time, at least stop the car.
- Give yourself the time to eat and focus on the food. Chewing and swallowing is essential to create the environment the body needs to absorb and assimilate food.
Remember, it’s NOT what we do occasionally that matters as much as what we do most of the time that affects our health and well being.