When You Eat, Get Off Your Feet!

By Katie, 7:53 am

I think of myself as a “grazer” in the sense that I prefer to eat smaller meals and snacks continuously throughout the day. But in the past I was more of a “grazer” in the sense that every time I’d pass through my kitchen I’d snag a bite to eat.

In the house I grew up in, you have to pass through the kitchen to get to any other room in the house, so I literally grabbed a treat or two from the cookie jar every time I came home.

And do you think I put these cookies on a plate, sat down at the table, and gave my full attention to savoring them? Yeah, right! :roll: I ate them on the fly, grab-and-go style. Which means I was constantly eating standing up.

Until I discovered that it is quite difficult – if not impossible – to eat mindfully while on your feet.

While I’ve actually never read this book by Geneen Roth (although I’ve read many others and highly recommend them!), the title really says it all:

(Can you read that? The title is: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair.)

If you’re trying to learn how to eat more mindfully and with greater awareness, a great way to begin is simply by insisting that before you eat anything, you will sit down. It’s a relatively easy rule to follow, since it does not put any restrictions on what you’re eating or on the quantity. But it immediately brings your awareness to the fact that you are indeed eating. Because I don’t know about you, but when I would eat “on the fly,” I often acted as though those nibbles “didn’t count.” :-?

While this whole sitting-down thing may not seem like such a big deal, once I started doing it consistently I actually made an important discovery about myself. I think that I used to eat standing up, passing through the kitchen, because I didn’t feel like I deserved food or the pleasure that comes from eating it. Because I “felt fat,” I thought I was only entitled to bites snuck here and there.

When I made the effort to put my food on a plate – even if it was just a tiny snack – and actually sit down and enjoy it, it felt like I was nourishing myself in a way that went beyond the physical. I was saying to myself, “Katie, there is nothing wrong or bad about eating this food. You deserve not only to eat it, but also to enjoy it to the fullest.”

So the next time you’re passing through the kitchen and want a nibble, I say go for it…after you’ve pulled up a chair. ;-)

Do you ever eat standing up? Do you find it affects your ability to enjoy your food, to give it your full attention? Do you ever find yourself thinking that food eaten while standing up “doesn’t count”?

17 Responses to “When You Eat, Get Off Your Feet!”

  1. Jessica says:

    I read a while ago to try to not eat standing, as food you eat standing is food you didn’t plan on eating. I haven’t thought about this for a long time, but I realize most of yesterday’s unneeded snacks were consumed standing! Great reminder!

  2. allijag says:

    I am SUPER terrible about eating standing up. In fact – I think its safe to say – probably 1/8 of what I eat (if not more) is eaten standing up! ;)

  3. tima says:

    Hi Katie
    Your posts are always great.When i eat while standing,I forget that I ate those things and feel hungry again.I try to sit and enjoy the food .

    • Katie says:

      Hey, Tima! Glad you enjoyed the post. I agree – if I eat when I’m standing up, both my mind and my body seem to forget that I ate!

  4. Oh I totally agree with this post. First, I love that Geneen ROth book, and second, I’m so passionate about sitting down and fully focusing on meals. It is a ritual, a pleasure, and a connection with my loved ones that I seek at meal time. I love to spend as much time as I can savoring my meal. I used to eat a lot in the car, walking to class or work, and standing around in my kitchen. I realized that these times I didn’t enjoy the food as much and didn’t even feel as though I’d eaten.
    I’m so happy you brought this up!

  5. I think this is one of the most important facets of learning to eat mindfully. I rarely eat standing up anymore, and it has made a huge difference in how I view food. You are so right… it is about pleasure… and savoring the experience… and learning to recognize hunger. This is very difficult to do while standing up, rushing, or doing other things. Thanks for a great reminder!!

  6. Tina says:

    This is so true! It is so much easier to forget about little nibbles and not count them into your eating habits. I definitely am more mindful of what I eat when I sit down. And then I always end up more satisfied because I actually take the time to savor what I am eating.

  7. Great advice and one that I don’t think many people follow! I try to always sit down and savor my meal, while eating slowly, so I can enjoy all of the flavors!

  8. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for bringing up this great point. There are many times that my husband and I will walk in the house from being out and just grab something out of the pantry to snack on. Next thing I know I’ve gone through handfuls of food that I can’t even remember eating, then I finally find something to sit down and eat. And I wonder afterward why I feel overly full. Well it’s because of all the mindless snacking I did before. Thanks for reminding me to actually sit down and enjoy my food.

  9. Lisa says:

    love this! I think we are all guitly of eating standing up! I know I am. Love that you should be sitting down to eat. New rule, thanks for the reminder!

  10. Tamara says:

    The only time I eat standing up is when I’m eating for emotional reasons, and don’t want to feel full!

    Some other things I have to remember to avoid while eating: watching TV, doing /anything/ on a computer, and calorie counting. There’s no better way to ruin your satiety than to mentally tally the calories while you’re eating them.

  11. Elina says:

    Thanks for this reminder. I wrote a post a while back that I think you read about my sister’s “eating rules.” I just went back to look at them – rule #1 – plate everything you eat. Yeah, I definitely got off track there. It does make it seem more “official” that you’re eating and also brings portion awareness.

  12. Elina says:

    Ha, rule #2 was “don’t eat standing up.” I guess we are all in agreement on this one.
    PS – rule #3 was don’t eat while watching tv. All good stuff!

  13. LOVED this post. i eat standing up allllll the time. i’m definitely not focused on the food or enjoying the taste as i should be. i’ll pull up a chair next time. ;)

  14. Jessica says:

    Well put! What a great post, thank you for this insight!

  15. Nicole, RD says:

    Tres importante FOR SURE!! My in-laws sent this HUGE box of Easter candy and I walked in the door, saw it, and popped one in my mouth. Not a huge deal, but I wouldn’t recall it tomorrow because I truly didn’t take the time to enjoy it. Great points, Katie!

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