Good eating habits are not just about what we ingest but also, and above all, how we ingest it. Eating slowly and thoughtfully, chewing thoroughly and enjoying a meal sitting down, for example, are all behaviors that can affect your weight.
Eating while Standing = Weight Gain
You do it all the time—at parties, office functions, cocktail bars. Eating while standing up has become a common practice in all areas of life, due to various circumstances. You might associate standing up with losing weight; after all, sitting for long hours throughout the day has been linked to weight gain and multiple other health issues—unfortunately, it’s not. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s advisable to eat while seated. Just being at a tableencourages you to focus on your meal, which helps you feel fuller and reduces the temptation to snack later on.
If you’re standing, however, you might be more likely to consider your meal as a snack, even if it has the same amount of calories. At least that’s what research findings suggest in a study from University of Surrey, published in the journal Appetite.
The study’s survey looked at 80 women, who were asked to designate what they ate as a snack or as a meal. Some received food that was served in a bowl with plastic cutlery while standing up; others were served food in a ceramic dish with steel cutlery while sitting. After the meal, the women were taken to a second room to do a taste test of various unhealthy foods (chocolate cookies, cheese, chocolate icing, etc.)
The researchers found that study participants who had eaten on their feet considered what they ate to be a “snack” rather than a meal and proceeded to eat substantially more during the taste test than those who had eaten sitting down at the table, despite equal calorie intake. In total, they ingested 50 percent more calories.
It just goes to show how connected our minds are to our physical state while eating, and the same goes for other bad habits, such as watching TV or using technology while eating.
Bottom line? Keep mealtimes sacred. Focus on your food, listen to your body, and above all, don’t forget to sit down and enjoy!