DAY # 7
CHAIR + TABLE + PLATE.
Today I will sit down in a chair at a table and eat from a plate with utensils for at least one meal or snack – PS: this does NOT include the car or work desk.
If you normally eat at your desk, especially in front of a computer, move to another space where you can avoid distractions and enjoy your meal in peace. Avoid eating in front of the television and turn it off if you are near one.
Eating your meals at a table is a healthy ritual to commit to. There is something special about gathering around the table as a family (or yourself) to break bread (make it gluten-free our sourdough for my sensitive belly), enjoy good food and company. The art of dining at a table has unfortunately gotten lost our fast-paced life shuffle which is why we all need to do 30-Day challenges around mindfulness. Because a lot of mindful food skills are developed at the table. Not while distracted in our car, not while distracted working at our desk, but at the dining table, sitting in a chair, and eating off a plate or bowl or dish paying attention to how our food looks, smells, tastes and feels in our body.
With a pinch of planning and a healthy dose of persistence, you can start to establish healthier dining rituals with yourself as well as your loved ones. When I was growing up, we never ever ate ANYTHING unless we were seated at the table. We didn’t walk around with food in our mouth through the house (that was a bad habit I changed during the first challenge and happens occasionally but I catch myself in the moment).
We didn’t have a kitchen bar to sit at and work at, constantly surrounded by and reminded of food – another struggle of mine when I work at home because I love the natural light in our kitchen. And we certainly didn’t eat in the car unless we were driving to my grandparents home in Florida. That was a true treat to eat junk food from McDonald’s IN THE CAR, a major double-whammy childhood taboo. Oh, the fond days of blissful ignorance – eating Happy Meals while potentially polluting my arteries! LOL no judgment I just don’t like the way fast food FEELS in my body now 🙂
My point is, the table is a place to connect to food, yourself as well as loved ones. Not only does it create the perfect environment for slowing down, but also it supports mindful eating skills. And the main benefit is the reconnection time with those who are most important to you.
When we moved into our new house, we only had a couch so guess where we ate for awhile. Yup, in front of the TV until we agreed on bar stools. And even when the stools came in, there was a bit of resistance from my other half to move from the TV to the kitchen counter at meal times. And then even more resistance once we finally purchased a dining room table.
Stubborn me would sit at the beautiful dining room table that I purchased with my hard-earned money, decorated with beautiful flowers or candles, alone. My other half was sitting on the couch, eating, watching TV. It drove me nuts.
So I asked him if we could enjoy the lovingly prepared meals I created at the nice table and spend some quality meal time together. It was a process and occasionally we eat on the couch, typically after a really long Thursday, but not regularly at all. Once I committed to mindful eating, I started to enjoy eating at the table (even alone) and do so as much as I humanly can. Now we eat 95 percent of our dinner meals at the table, especially during the work-week. Weekends I am a little more lenient since we dine out or have varying levels of hunger and don’t eat all meals together. Start to establish healthier skills for you and then slowly or quickly, they can trickle into your regular routine. The woman of the household usually establishes the habits and rituals around dining and food so stand firm in your resolve and create healthier habits for the entire family! You won’t regret it!
Remember to continue practicing body love, rating your hunger levels, and now, sitting down for meals at a table. If at any time you skip a day or just can’t do the daily challenge, no worries. You can “table” it for later (ha-ha, pun intended) and continue building the previous skills OR take a day off. This is YOUR challenge, go at the pace that you can manage. I have the daily challenges set in a relatively logical order but that doesn’t mean that you have to follow this to a “T” if your schedule doesn’t allow it or you start feeling like a failure because you’ve gotten off track within the first week. No worries at all. Remember, NO JUDGMENT, NO EXPECTATION. This is not a competition. You are learning mindful eating skills and many can be challenging to implement, especially when past feelings and old diet memories resurface. Just be curious about where some beliefs started and allow yourself to create new ones. You’re doing better than you think!