This was oringally posted on my other blog, “Real. Fit.”. But when it came up on my feed, I realized I needed this reminder. Again.
You wouldn’t believe how often I hear it: “I don’t have time to eat.” Which is even more silly than “I don’t have time to cook.” (Post on that coming, later!) Really? You don’t have time to eat? Do you have time to brush your teeth? Shower? I mean, I feel like these things are pretty basic life skills.
I was already well into this healthy life when I became a single girl after 6 years of marriage. The idea of coming home and cooking for myself seemed like a lot of trouble. The idea of sitting down to a meal by myself was even worse. Trust me, I know why people eat out or eat their meals in front of the television. It’s just somehow easier.
But now I’m in a different place, and I realize I wasn’t doing myself any favors.
Of course, you’ve probably heard by now that Eating in Front of the TV Can Make You Fat– nutso, I know. Turns out that when your brain is distracted, it can’t process the feeling of the satisfaction. Translation: come 9 o’clock, it’s open season on your refrigerator. Your body didn’t realize it ate a great meal just a short time before. Couple that with all the advertisements for uhem… $*%#food, and you’re fighting a losing battle.
Besides, most of us are so stressed out that we’re already primed to eat things we don’t need, because that’s what elevated cortisol (your stress hormone) does. But the simple act of having an evening ritual that helps you unwind can help negate the effects of a stressful day. A chance to sit and reflect and “let it go” to quote the chirpy Disney princess, is a chance to not take the day to bed with you. Which means you sleep more. Which in turn helps you reduce cortisol. Which helps keep your weight in check. See where I’m going with this?
Maybe, though, it’s more than all that. Maybe the simple act of sitting down to a meal reminds you what you’re doing, and what it is that you want from all of this. Maybe the act of eating off a nice dinner plate reminds you that you’re worth it.
These days, I look forward to meals, but not really because of the food. When I can, I come home to eat– and eat off a pretty table that I keep set. When I can’t get home, I do the best I can to at least go eat in a park. I day dream, or just sit in the silence. Occasionally, I put on some Norah Jones or Ella Fitzgerald. In the evenings, I light a candle and enjoy the glow. I make a conscious effort to set down my day.
I know, I know… most of you don’t have the luxury of singleness that allows you to sit and have a quiet dinner. Fair enough, but even if not, you can still make at least dinner an event. Use good dishes, even if you have kids. Do as many of the dishes as you can before you eat, and try not to eat in a cluttered space. Try not to talk “shop”– who has to pick up which child, and how you’re going to purchase the new water heater. Instead, use meal times to talk about things that excite you, or good things that happened in your day. One of the best things you can do for your family is model a healthy lifestyle for them– and slowing down and enjoying a meal is a huge part of that.
It seems like such a small thing, this sitting down for a meal. It seems like something that couldn’t really make much difference in anything really. But try it for a week or a month. This one thing may start a chain reaction. This one thing may be enough to change your mindset and shift it into a pattern of healthy living, which may be one of the things you need to finally start losing the weight, and getting healthy.