Not Yet Tabling This Discussion

I tried eating only at the kitchen table this past week.  I hated it!  But I would have to admit that the experiment should be classified as a success.  With one exception:  my time at the lake house.

So let’s get the lake visit admission out of the way first.  I did a bad job eating there.  I ate things I should not have eaten.  I ate sitting in a recliner while reading a book.  I regret it.  But my lake visits are over for the summer and I am moving on.  Suffice to say it was not good and I know it.  No excuses, just an explanation.

Now on to the business at hand: the results of my non-scientific experiment.  At home, I did indeed eat all my food at the kitchen table.  And restricting my location meant I snacked less.  And I thought more about what I was going to nibble.  Was it worth the time and effort to sit at the table?  Sometimes, the answer was “no.”  And this table business cut way down on my evening snacking problem!

What I most missed during the whole experiment was having my lunch in front of the TV.  I know, I know.  Not a great idea.  But I enjoy fast-forwarding through my recorded episode of the Today show while slowly working my way through a huge serving of roasted veggies.  And in reality, meals are not usually a problem for me.  My snacking is the problem.  My snacking habit that becomes mindless eating that often escalates to overeating.  Some days there is a whole lotta snacking going on.  But not so much now that it is limited to one location:)

So while I am going to stick with the “eat only at the table thing,” I am going to give myself the leeway to make it an “eat snacks only at the table thing” and I will allow myself, when I want, to eat meals elsewhere, like in front of the TV.  I think this is one place in my life where I can handle some moderation:)  So let’s see what happens.

Now for official challenge goals for the week…

  • Eat snacks only at the kitchen table.
  • Stay on plan every day except at a party on Saturday when I will eat mindfully and moderately.  For now, that also means no bread or crackers.

How was your week/weekend?  Anything working for you lately that you just don’t like?



Filed under dieting, goals

57 responses to “Not Yet Tabling This Discussion

  1. Genie@dietof51

    You are far ahead of me! I have to start with “sitting”. The only meal I’m guaranteed to “sit down” for is lunch at the office, in my little cell at my computer. All other meals, I eat like a hovercraft in the kitchen. Snacks, too, for the most part.

    There is always work to do in the kitchen! I feel like sitting down at the kitchen table increases my time in the room that I want most to escape from. It’s hard to be the chief cook and bottle-washer for the family. Make that the ONLY C&BW. I’m a kitchen martyr. That’s the problem….

    Good luck with your goals! As Sonny’s baseball coach yells when the kids come up to bat, “Have a PLAN!”

  2. Karen, I think finding what works for you with trial & error is a good thing. I have learned along the way too. I watch a recorded show during my meals too. It works for me.

    I also eat mini meals but I tend to break them up so that the snack time is more part of the previous mini meal. For example, if you were having protein & veggies, I would have the protein at 1 mini meal & the veggie at another so I always have a mini meal coming my way BUT it is not really extra food but part of the previous meal. Helps me from snacking so much. I really like this at dinner time too when I break up the veggie & protein & may eat them 30 minutes to an hour apart. Works for me but may not work for others.

    • Karen

      That’s an interesting approach. I did find that eating at the table made several of my snacks more meal-like for me: yogurt with cereal instead of a bowl of berries, for example. I still think I snack more than a lot of other people. I think I will ask about that one day soon in a post.

  3. Sounds like you did a good job with it, Karen. I think I’m going to bootleg your idea for myself this week. You reminded me of how last night I sat in a chair with popcorn staring at the tv and mindlessly shoving it in. A lot, and it was lite kettle corn, so a little more potentially binge inducing. I didn’t binge, but I also didn’t really “notice” the flavor, the texture, nothing. How satisfying can that be?

    I smiled when you said you ate a big helping of roasted beggies for lunch. That’s one of my go-to lunches, with some chicken breast.

    • Karen

      One place where I have really consistently improved my eating habits is with my veggie consumption. In the past I never made them for lunch and rarely for dinner. Now, I may eat a couple of cups with protein for lunch and then again later for an afternoon snack or with dinner. One small change in the right direction for me:)

      I’ll be interested to hear if you try the table thing and how it works for you.

  4. I’m going to play devil’s advocate here and see what happens! Sometimes, no matter what the “experts” say, a certain tactic just isn’t for me. I understand all the reasoning behind the eating only at the table thing, but based on what I’ve read since I’ve “known” you, I’ll admit I wondered if that would work for you or would make you feel as if you were being punished. I HATE eating at the table and if I make myself do that, I end up hurrying through my meal paying NO attention to what I’m eating, so that I can get on to what I really want to be doing (usually reading). If you try to make yourself do something that isn’t consistent with what feels good and natural, won’t you end up going back to the old habits without having learned a thing? I know that still doesn’t address the original issue of “bad” eating while reading or watching TV, but maybe it should be about what you eat rather than where you eat. This experiment just seems to be too stressful to embrace as something you could do forever.

    Just a thought, sorry so long, shoot it down…..whatever response will help me too!!

    • Karen

      I love hearing other perspectives and opinions!

      I think the table thing works for me because my biggest problem was mindless snacking and I did that while sitting in my comfy chair or on the couch. And it seemed to be habit-based more than emotional, to me. So this has broken the conditioned response, maybe? Now the punishment part… yep, felt some of that at lunch time when I really wanted to be watching TV while I ate. Thus my modification to the plan.

      Funny too that you suggest it be about WHAT I eat because I had all sorts of thoughts along those lines… I could eat all the veggies I want away from the table, for example. Maybe that will be the next direction for me.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment Sharon:)

  5. I like this a lot Karen and I wish you MUCH success with it. I think, in this era though, a lot of people spend most of their days away from the kitchen table. I am away from home from 6am – 7pm most days and don’t have access to a kitchen table of any kind during that time.

    I still think it comes down to discipline; table or not.

    • Karen

      Very true. If I worked outside the house it would have to be a different goal. But I also suspect I would not snack as much if I was working again.

  6. Hmmm…you are on to something here. Seriously, the only time I snack is in front of the t.v.-and I love me some HGTV at night!

    • Karen

      Oh I love it too! Also recorded. Great shows to eat lunch by this week:) As are the cooking competitions that my sons like to watch with me.

  7. It’s all about trial and error! We sit down for dinner, and I sit at my desk for breakfast and lunch, but it’s those darn snacks in front of the TV that always get me…

    • Karen

      Well the other way to work this goal is to say “no eating in front of the TV.” I tried something similar with none while reading, but that just meant I found another activity instead:( Snacks – sigh.

  8. If I only ate at the table I would NEVER eat. It is way too much work to eat at the table for me. I think you just need to do what works for you. I need to learn to eat more and it really doesn’t matter where I do it. For heavens sake I should be so lucky to grab something and just eat it in the bathroom, if that’s what going to help me remember to eat. I know I am weird. I DO NOT have a food addiction just POOR eating habits. (not eating enough).

  9. Love this! It reminds me of a quote I read over the weekend: “Before you build a mousetrap, find out if there are any mice out there.” In this case, the snacks are definitely a good place to set a trap. Meals, not so much. 🙂

    • Karen

      Here is another thing I was thinking with all of this, Cammy. Since I struggle with moderation, maybe this will eventually be a good way for me to add that into my life (eventually). ONLY eating that stuff that I tend to overeat if I am sitting at the table! I can’t imagine sitting there and eating multiple slices of bread or serving after serving of Triscuits. Food for thought. (Pun intended, sorry.)

  10. That’s a great goal – I must have missed the original post where you set this goal. I could use this goal in my life… I eat everything in front of the TV. Good job with this week – I think it’s quite the success to only have eaten away from the table at the lake house.

    • Karen

      Thanks. That darn lake house. Sigh. Now that my travels are over for a while, I need to string together more days without social eating binges. Onward!

  11. It is all about learning about ourselves and adjusting our goals and our habits to best fit our situation.

    Sounds to me like you are doing well!

  12. Good job, Karen!!! I like the way you’re experimenting and noticing the results and then modifying the experiment until you find what works for you at this time! Who knows, you may just find that the lake visits are an exception to your normal routine that can be acceptable.

    Thanks for your recent comment on my blog… it helps! The bike is apparently running now and we’ll be on our way soon with double miles to cover in the remainder of the day (it’ll be noon by the time we leave). I’m still going to ride safely, no matter what!

    • Karen

      I am surprised to hear from you! I hope the rest of your trip is comparatively uneventful. I am already thinking ahead to next summer and how I will approach the lake then. Actually, my mom has her house there up for sale so maybe that will be a moot point.

  13. Fixing a location to eat is something that had never crossed my mind. What a great idea 🙂

    It will be interesting to see how it goes now that you only have to eat snacks at the table. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

    • Karen

      Thanks Mark. I knew I was doing most of my snacking, for me the worst of my eating, sitting in my family room. But I admit I resisted this for a long time. Wish I’d done it sooner!

  14. Your plan sounds good, Karen. Snacks at the table (or maybe even non OP snacks at the table) and meals where you will.

    • Karen

      Yep, my mind is going there too. Maybe someday the non-op ones there too. MAYBE. For now, I want to just feel back in control for a while before I venture off plan in my own home again. Sigh.

  15. Well, I’m guilty of being a bedroom eater and TV watcher, but only if the food is transportable! I would be very unhappy if I didn’t get to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, like get my TV watching in at the same time as eating so I could move onto the next task when I’m done. I guess in some really stupid way I consider it time management! Of course, these are meals or my two fruits of the day. No snacks. Does that make it better??? 🙂

    • Karen

      I am going to post about snacks and ask what people do. Good for you:)

      I get the multitasking thing. Love to get things knocked off my Tivo backlog while eating. Sadly.

  16. Have you considered just having some plain air popped popcorn around to snack on? No one has ever gotten fat on that stuff. It’s whole grain, very low calorie, and filling.

    • Karen

      I used to eat it years ago. But unfortunately I have given it up since it wreaked havoc with my aging dental work. My husband eats it a lot around me and I sometimes think about having a piece but then I remember the last time the hygienist had to dig around after a hull and I don’t put my hand in the bowl:(

  17. I have to say — my favorite place to eat is in my office while on the computer….and dinner is always in front of the TV. My husband and I eat later — so by then we are in to our tivo’d shows and chilling out.

    I’m so ok with that 🙂

    • Karen

      And I so did not want to give up my shows every night. Let me tell you, there are a lot on there and hubby and I never watch them live and never catch up. Used the be the summer slowed down but now there are great shows on lots of channels all summer. Sigh. We try to eat at the table since I still have a teen at home but I admit that we have sometimes all three eaten dinner together in front of a show.

  18. I am so bad about that!! I sit at the table if I have people with me, but I don’t usually otherwise.

    Good luck on your experiment 🙂

  19. My number one “rule” right now is that I eat mindfully, which means I think before I put anything in my mouth. This has allowed me to make it through my birthday, my mother’s wake, staying at my family’s home, and now while back home and feeling alternately numb, depressed, and surprisingly OK following her unexpected death. Of course back home I’m able to control what food is in the house and surround myself with healthy edibles – but still I always ask myself if I really want that next 1/4 cup of almonds or am I just seeking some solace in the crunch.

    • Karen

      I think “mindful” would be harder for me… too subjective maybe? I am a very black and white person and there is no subjectivity in sitting at the table or not. Mindful might be a good next step for me. I am glad it has been working for you.

  20. I am going to attemp only table eating starting Sept 1st. If I wasn’t in the middle of a move, I would start now. I will start as soon as I am eating meals at the new place. I will allow myself to eat on the patio at a table as well. I have a feeling this is going to be difficult for me!

    • Karen

      You certainly have a lot going on right now. I agree about other tables too. We never sit outside at our deck or in the dining room but I actually would consider those acceptable in my goals too. Can’t wait to see how it goes for you!

  21. I’m the worst when it comes to where I eat my meals. Breakfast and lunch are usually both at my desk (I’m eating some awesome apple cinnamon protein pancakes right now, as a matter of fact!) and dinner’s almost always in front of the TV. Awful, I know! The only time I eat at a table is out at a restaurant and/or if friends are involved (either hosting a dinner party or attending one).

    It’s certainly something I need to work on! Though I am getting better of being aware of what I’m eating – and enjoying the tastes etc – than I used to be.

    • Karen

      Oh those sound yummy! When I worked I ate at my desk too. I don’t think I had as many problems with snacking back then. Too much to keep me busy.

  22. i would have to give myself a big #fail on this topic.

    the hubz and i are now empty nesters and feel as though we have paid our dues when it comes to dinner table meals! makes it sound like the past was painful at the table (i raised three boys, so that would be a correct assumption!).

    anyway, we put the dining room table and chairs in the garage and expanded our living area, and not gonna lie, we eat in front of the tv most evenings. in the nice weather we sit out on our patio for meals, but eating at the table is a thing of the past.

    i have heard that table eating can help a person lose weight, if for no other reason that we become far more aware of the foot we’re eating, and can be better attuned to what our bodies tell us (full, almost full, stuffed, etc.) i think that is really important when we’re trying to learn how much food we actually need. once learned tho, what works better for me is managing myself vs. managing my food.

    i hope that makes sense?

    • one could make a case that eating at the table IS managaing myself, but i guess my point was that delving into why on earth i eat at all when i’m not hungry addresses the root problem…which seems to also come back to me.

      • Karen

        I get it! I am controlling a behavior with restricting my location, but not actually getting at the potential cause of the eating. It will be interesting to see what happens if I decide to take this limit off. Will I go back to mindless eating and need to delve deeper into myself? Or will I have broken a bad habit, a conditioned response, once and for all?

  23. I’ve been trying the same thing lately, and I’ve found that I’m more satisfied when I sit at the table. I *always* eat my lunch/breakfast in front of the tv, and while I hate eating at the table too, it really is an interesting experiment.

  24. I only eat at the table, always have. I don’t like food in other rooms and I’m grossed out by even the idea of eating in bed. I also set the table completely for every meal whether I’m alone or not … I know, I’m weird.

    • Karen

      Okay, first let me say I laughed about the bed part. I never eat in bed. Can’t remember ever doing it either. But we have no TV up there so maybe that is part of it. Now setting the table, not me. Least work possible!

  25. Love this experiment you are doing. I try to only eat at the table, and it goes pretty well for me. Occasionally we will eat on the couch or something but that’s rare.

  26. Sounds like a good plan you’ve got in place for this week, Karen! What worked for me this past weekend was planning a night to eat “whatever” I wanted on Friday to get it out of my system. Now I’m back to the relatively healthy norm, and think this one night of eating whatever might be a great way to go for a while. 🙂

    • Karen

      I have seen others who have a cheat meal or day once a week. Or treat. I have wondered if that would work for me, now or someday. Some people would suggest that dieters feel deprived and that is what leads to binging. So you may just be on to something!

  27. This is one of the top behaviors in the Beck Diet Solution. It is something I have never been able to do even with the best intentions. Remember French Women Don’t Get Fat? That book also said to totally deck out your dining room and have a grand display with each meal. Sounds great, but I too love to quickly tivo through shows during lunch. My meals are not my problem either. It’s my snack. Great post!

    • Karen

      I hear a lot of great little morsels (no pun intended) from Beck in blogs or on my diet forum. I had not realized this was in that book too. I do remember the part about letting yourself go without food one day until you realized you would be okay to feel hunger!

  28. This is a hard one… I think eating at the table is a great thing, especially for family time. But I tend to agree with Roy, we’re a very busy family and usually can only get near a table for dinner and that is hit or miss. I wish you the best in keeping up with this tho!

    • Karen

      Life has gotten a lot easier in this regard as my kids have gotten older. Now, most of the time, there is only one living at home to worry about. And neither my husband or I work outside the house. So few excuses for me.

I love comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s