Want to Lose Weight? 5 Reasons Sitting at the Table to Eat Can Help

Article posted in: Lifestyle

You’re busy. You’re running to pick up the kids, grabbing groceries between meetings, or rushing to finish a project on deadline … all the time. So sitting down for a real meal—instead of grabbing something to go—may seem like a luxury you can’t afford.

But if you’re trying to lose weight, putting your butt in a chair to chow down may be the most important thing you do all day. Here are 5 reasons to pop a squat and sit at a table when you’re eating to maximize satisfaction and weight loss success.

1. You’ll eat more slowly.

When people sit down, they take things slower. For instance, a 1999 paper from the University of Missouri found that stand-up meetings were 34 percent shorter than those where participants were seated.
When it comes to eating and feeling satisfied, slower may be better. In one study from 2006, participants who were instructed to eat quickly downed 676 calories during a nine-minute meal, compared to 579 calories when they took 29 minutes to eat. And the fewer calories went further: In the hour after the meal, the women were more satisfied by the slower meal than they were on the day they ate quickly.

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2. You can chew your food.

Slowing down is also an opportunity to thoroughly chew your food, which is important: Chewing is actually the first stage of digestion, and doing it thoroughly can mean your food is more satisfying. In a study from Iowa State University, students who chewed pizza 40 times ate less overall and had greater nutrient absorption compared to students who chewed the pizza just 15 times.

In a similar study from China, men who chewed each bite of food 40 times ate 12 percent fewer calories at a meal those who chewed just 15 times. The study found that hormones could be involved: The 40-chew group produced less ghrelin, a hormone that is related to feeling hungry.

3. You can concentrate on what you’re eating.

When you’re distracted, you need more taste sensations (and more food) to feel satisfied. A study from the Netherlands found that dieters had more trouble determining the sweetness of a beverage while they were also asked to concentrate on a mental task.

So put down your phone, click off the cafeteria TV, stay off your computer, and put away your reading materials while you sit and eat. Instead, concentrate on your food and practice “mindful eating.” This is an act of eating where you’re aware of each bite you put in your mouth, savoring and noticing the different textures, flavors, colors and smells of your food. Multiple studies have shown that eating in this way helps increase weight loss success without focusing on counting calories.

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4. You can eat off a plate.

If you’re eating standing up, chances are you’re eating out of a bag, box, or other packaging. If that packaging isn’t a pre-measured serving size, chances are, you’ll overeat: In a study from the journal Nature, Americans correctly guess the amount of food in a portion only about half the time, and they tended to underestimate portion sizes of snacks and sweets … meaning they were eating more of these high-calorie foods than they should.
So sit down and pre-measure a portion onto a plate or into a bowl. And if you can, choose a smaller dish on which to serve yourself: A study from Cornell University found that people who ate a hamburger off a smaller plate thought they were eating 20 percent more calories than they really were, so they were more satisfied than those with a bigger plate.

5. You can invite others to join you.

Even though we’re constantly “connected” via social media, people can feel more isolated and depressed thanks to these apps. Feeling isolated can have huge impacts on your health: In fact, one study from 1988 found that social isolation was a major risk for death!

So take the time to not just sit down, but invite someone to join you. If you’re eating with coworkers, a study of firefighters found that this may improve your ability to work together and improve your overall performance. And if you’re with family or friends, eating together can reduce stress. We can all use less stress in our lives, and so can our waistlines: Stressing out is one reason many people gain weight. So sit down, grab a friend, and have a more enjoyable, filling meal.