Never eat standing up!

Remember that old wives’ tale, “It doesn’t count if you’re standing up”? Or was it just wishful thinking?

Regardless, according to Judith S. Beck, author of The Beck Diet: How to Think Like a Thin Person,” you should never put anything in your mouth while you’re standing up and that includes while you’re walking.

Why does it matter if I eat standing up versus sitting down?

Because people tend to eat more and more quickly when they’re standing or walking than they do when they’re sitting.

Although this seems like a fairly simple rule, you may be surprised how effective it can be.

For instance, abiding my this single rule practically eliminates the bad habit of tasting – otherwise known as snacking – while you cook!

It also has the potential to eliminate or at least drastically reduce the terrible habit that a lot of women (especially wives and mothers) have picked up of cleaning not only their own plates, but the plates of everyone else in the family as they clear the table after a meal!

Additionally, people who don’t abide by this rule are less likely to count (or even notice) the calories they eat standing up, at least not to the degree they are likely to do when they take the time to prepare a meal or snack and sit down to eat it! Dr. Beck also suggests, by the way, that you limit your eating to the dining room, which means eliminating eating at your desk, in front of the television, etc!

Never eating while standing up also cuts down on a lot of impulse snacking, including the elimination of store samples that on any Friday night in a reputable grocery store can add up to well over 500 calories before you even realize it between the goodies offered at the bakery, the deli, the produce isle, and the prepared foods section. And let’s not even get into how quickly the calories can rack when you stop for the four to six samples of beer and or wine!

Never eating while standing up also has the potential to cut out trips to the office candy jar! Because if you’re like me, if the candy doesn’t go immediately into my mouth, I can usually talk myself out of it before I get to my desk. Same thing with all of the office “goodies” that all of the would-be pastry chefs in my office bring in on most days that end in “Y”! However, if I do actually wait to eat something until I get to my desk, chances are that I’ve made a conscious decision to eat it and, thus, will record it in my food diary!

If you really want to cut down on all of the standing up calories that you consume without usually even realizing it, just stop and sit down. If you’re cooking, ladle whatever it is to a small measuring cup and go sit for a moment. Chances are the smaller amount will cool faster and you’ll get a better idea of what it really tastes like. And if you use a measuring spoon or cup to taste, you’ll be able to keep track of the calories! Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to think they don’t, the calories we eat standing up really matter! A calorie is a calorie, no matter what you’re position you’re in when you consume it!

Tip for the day: If you’re ravenous after a workout, don’t just grab a handful of grapes or chips straight out of the bag. Instead, take a deep breath, decide what you want, take a moment to count (or measure) whatever it is out, put in in or on a small serving dish, and sit down. Just by taking that extra thirty seconds you’ll increase your awareness of 1) what it is that you actually want (instead of just stuffing something in your face), 2) the calories you’re consuming and 3) the taste of whatever it is that you were hungry for to begin with.

If you really want to develop this habit quickly, set up a “tip” jar in your kitchen and/or office. Every time you find yourself (or, if you have a good support system, whenever someone else finds you) eating on your feet, throw a dollar in there. Eventually, usually about the time that you’ve developed the habit, you’ll have enough saved to take yourself (and probably someone else) to a nice sit-down dinner!

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11 comments so far

  1. Q on

    I read this the other day and thought, “well, duh!” and didn’t give it another thought until last night when I was baking grandma’s birthday cake (she turned a very healthy 78 on Sunday) and I caught myself dipping into the cake batter! I would never have noticed myself digging into the calories that way had I not read the post. The ofending calories were quickly washed down the drain… no wonder the weight refuses to release when I keep giving it permission to stay!

  2. KJ on

    That’s funny! Because that’s exactly the same reaction I had when I read it in that book! Then I noticed how I often I’d wolf down a piece of fruit or 5 or 6 cashews without even noticing! Also, putting away leftovers! The list goes on and on! Thanks for commenting!

  3. […] am also going to do my best to not eat standing up or anything – anything at all – that’s not on a […]

  4. Louëlla on

    I’m guilty of this! Will stop.

    • KJ on

      It makes a lot of sense when you stop and think about it – I had just never stopped and thought about it! Good luck! And thanks for reading!

  5. Lara on

    to share some knowledge, I read the following from very old source: “let none of you drink or eat while standing” .. and also ” Do not drink water in one gulp (or one breath) like a camel, but take it in two or three installments (with breaks for a breath).” also i read “No human being has ever filled a container worse than his own stomach. The human being needs no more than a few morsels of food to keep up his strength, doing so (If a human being cannot resist) then should consider that a third of his stomach is for food, a third for drink and a third for breathing” !!

    • KJ on

      Very nice. Do you happen to remember the source? Sounds a little like the Kama Sutra. Regardless, thank you for sharing; the last bit is very consistent with the idea that your body needs space in your stomach so that the spiritual essence of the food can do it’s own magic. I think that that is a traditional belief from Okinawa, but I’m not positive.

  6. Lara on

    Hi, friend of mine “she’s a muslim” has given me a book about thier prophet habits, however you can refer to this site, you may find some info:

    http://talimulislam.co.cc/hadith/hadiths-eating-etiquettes-islam/

    or just find out in google some related eating, diet and manners from Hadith.

    I read the book How to Think Like a Thin Person, very helpful for me. Thanks

  7. mike on

    This is not based on physiological reasons but behavioral. What I’d like to know is, what is the actual reaction on the body and the digestive processes.

    • KJ on

      That’s an interesting question. My lay understanding is that if you’re eating standing up, you tend to eat to fast and without attention – both of which cause you to eat too much (at least for me, personally). In order for your digestion to kick in and do it’s job, it requires oxygen and space.

  8. […] of enjoying your food with all of your senses (and, heck, the busiest post on the blog is about Never Eating While Standing), I am embarrassed to say ate that standing up at the […]


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