Family was of huge importance to my mum. Enjoying family time meant eating at the table and not leaving it without asking or having good reason to. It was the time to share our thoughts. This was our routine and something to be relished. As I’ve mentioned before my mum would make everything from scratch all of which was extremely yummy.
All meal times for that matter (including weekends) would be shared at the breakfast table before we all departed for our daily school or work duties.
Once old enough and living on my own this habitual way of eating altered. I was young and single and I often ate in front of the television with my food on my lap! I was more interested in going out and partying, eating fast food and caring less about how and where I ate, besides who has dinner for 1 at a table?
My busy work life soon lead me to eating on the run, at my desk, on the way to work, never really taking the time to relax and enjoy the food I was about to eat. Food was not a priority on my list. If I could go back and speak to my old self, I would most certainly have a few words.
The years wasted eating in front of the TV, stopped me from the following:
- Enjoying food
- Not cooking as it was an effort
- Forming a togetherness with people
- Switching off from college or work – working longer hours
- Chatting, laughter, and discussing what veggies we didn’t want – basic family time
- Less nutrient food
- Choosing convenient meals that were already made and only needed a few minutes in the microwave
- No conversation just mindless TV or similar
- No social enjoyment – people preferred to meet in bars more than restaurants
- detached from food and family
This lead to the following feelings:
- Mood changes
- Fight flight mode
- Never switching off
- Anti social
I did cook from time to time, and I was probably one of the few people out of my group of friends who would do single person hosting. I guess I got that from my mum, that whenever I could I would make a tribe with food. But not often enough.. and only with certain dishes.
Nowadays, I make it part of my role to make sure we have dinner together as a family, as often as we possibly can, we almost always have breakfast together, and at the weekend we make it fun, have bbq’s, and roast dinners, and add to the group to make it social and gorgeous.
The art of eating around a table has simply gotten lost in the shuffle. A practice that was once an intentional time of building relationships and learning to be present has been replaced by more and more doing.
Our ancestors ate together all the time. We are designed to sit down together, to have a connection, that’s how we built tribes, and developed small villages. Even now in remote villages the men hunt together, and the women cook and they all eat together.
Eating together encourages family togetherness. It provides better nutrition and should be an enjoyable way to spend time with one another. It’s good for our health and is great for our children’s social skills. It’s a known fact that kids will do better in school as they learn to be well-adjusted. It should be a time to unwind and relax with people we love. Studies have shown that when we feel alone it is as damaging to our health as being obese. Why? because when you are socially unconnected, you become lonely, isolated, and it can affect your health.
I have many amazing clients, with high-profile jobs, who had put on weight around their tummy area as they were never eating at the table with their loved ones.
With some small but positive changes two clients in particular have seen huge changes. The reconnection with the family, eating better, home cooked meals and better relationships overall had led to weight loss.
Take 5 minutes now and review the way you connect and eat with the ones you love!
If you live alone make plans with other friends who eat alone, build a tribe, or join a family. It can have the most positive impact on you, when you sit down and love your tribe and eat well at the table together!