If you want to start your Intuitive Eating journey, here’s the best place to start:
It’s some of the best advice my mother has given me, and the best minds in Mindfulness and Intuitive Eating agree – if you’re eating, you should sit down.
It’s so important that I call it the Non-Negotiable #1.
Sitting down is a physical cue to remind yourself that you’re about to start eating. It brings your attention to the present moment. As a part of a mindfulness practice, sitting down slows you down and helps you focus. Paying attention to eating helps with your digestion, too.
You’ve got two nervous systems, the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic. They can be described as “fight or flight” versus “rest and digest.” You can’t do both at the same time, the way the hormones, neurotransmitters and involuntary physical responses of each exactly oppose each other. The body is super smart and efficient.
So sit down, take a breath before you start, take one bite at a time and enjoy what you’re eating. You’ll experience less overeating, less heartburn, and less of that stuffed feeling that comes from mindless overeating.
I’ve realized that sitting down is a habit that has benefits beyond just eating food. It’s the real, deep-seeded subconscious intention of your morning cup of coffee, too.
This I’ve learned from talking to my one-on-one clients over the years, and taking the time to dig down and explore what that morning cup of coffee is truly all about. On the surface is the caffeine bump, of course. That’s a pretty good selling point. But deeper than that is what I’ve heard from women who actually sit down with their cup of coffee.
As opposed to taking swigs between getting dressed, skimming the headlines, checking in with last night’s email.
The value of sitting down is about giving yourself the gift of taking a break.
A break from the kids, a break from the email inbox, a break from all the glaring Teams, Messenger, and Slack notifications.
But what’s the value – does it even make sense – to take a break right at the beginning of the day? A resounding YES! First thing in the morning is possibly the only time in the day that you’ll have for yourself. A quiet time just for you to sit, sip, and ponder.
It sets the tone for the day, levels the playing field of what might await you in the hours ahead. It gives your nervous system a chance to regulate so you can start the day in a calm state of mind.
For some of us it’s the closest to mediation that we’ll get all day. I know for me, once I open the laptop, or leave the house and head to the office, all bets are off in terms of “me time”. That 10-15 minutes I take to sit to hold that warm steamy mug and actually breathe a full lungs’ worth of air is priceless.
So, Non-Negotiable #1 = Sit Down anytime you’re eating or drinking.
That’s for meals, snacks, and even coffee. Take advantage of those moments to recalibrate. It might take some negotiation and compromise, you might have to get up earlier, or shuffle your morning routine, but it’ll be worth it.
For you doubters, take a throwback minute to recall Mikey. They didn’t think he’d like something new, but he did.