The One Eating Habit That Will Change Your Relationship to Food

There are millions (trillions?) of tips for changing your eating habits, am I right?

Stop eating carbs. Eat the right carbs. Eat a high fat diet. Eat a low fat diet. Don’t eat meat. Eat all the meat, as long as it’s grass fed. Don’t eat fruit. Eat a raw food diet with lots of fruit.

Seriously, it makes my head spin when I see all the supposedly “right” ways to eat. But what if there was one simple thing you could do that could help you eat less and feel better about food?

There is.

Ready?

Sit down and pay attention when you eat.

It’s simple, but it is not easy. I know from personal experience.

Why should you sit while eating?

Here’s the “why” behind this advice:

When you sit, you pay attention. How many times have you shoved hunks of brownie into your mouth while standing at the counter? Or stood at the open fridge and dropped handfuls of shredded cheese down your throat?

There’s nothing wrong with brownies or shredded cheese—but you’re much, much more likely to eat a moderate amount of them (and actually enjoy them!) if you sit down and look at them before and while you eat them.

When you stand up, you’re likely on autopilot, eating extra food that you may later wish you hadn’t.

Sitting down also gives you a chance to think about whether or not you truly want more food, especially if you have possible second helpings positioned up on the counter and away from where you’re sitting.

Simply stated, sitting down creates time, space, and awareness that you don’t have when you’re on the go or standing in front of an open freezer.

There are some ways to make sitting down not work well for you, though. Sitting down in the car to eat doesn’t count, especially if you’re on the move. That’s the opposite of paying attention to your food.

If you’re scrolling through your Insta feed, reading a book, or otherwise placing your attention elsewhere besides your plate, you’re also missing out on the full effect of this tip.

I think it’s fine to occasionally skim the paper while you eat a meal (does anyone read an actual newspaper anymore??), but in general, if you find yourself always needing to do something else while you eat, it’s time for a shift.

Like I said, it’s simple and straight forward, but it can be a tough habit to change.

To start, try eating at least one meal a day with nothing else going on (being around and conversing with other people is fine). Sit down and look at your food, notice what you have in front of you.

Put your utensil down between bites. Notice how the food tastes. Try your best to actually figure out if you want more before you get more.

Repeat the process the next day, and the next, and then try sitting down for all of your meals, including snacks.

Do your best to making sitting down and paying attention a priority, and see if it improves your relationship with food.

Oh, and one last free tip: Don’t eat the leftovers off your kid’s plate, even if you’re sitting. #Guilty

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