I’d like to say I’m in shape. I’m healthy, I don’t have much, if any, pain. I can run, climb the stairs, do manual labor… but I don’t necessarily exercise. I started a walking regimen around the neighborhood – I failed to keep it up. I think I did it for two weeks. But the other night, while sitting at the dinner table with my grandfather, I realized – I am NOT in shape!  Let me explain.

At home, we eat on the couch watching TV.  I hold my plate up to my face, just under my chin, and do the shovel method for my food. I do this primarily to keep from dropping food on my lap or down my shirt. I guess I’m a messy eater. It works. It’s efficient. It’s normal. Yet grandpa is old school. I love it. We set the table. We sit down together for a nice meal. I have to lean forward towards the plate for every bite to keep it from dropping into my lap. It’s all very proper and the way it SHOULD be done! I had no idea that it was exercise!!!!

You see, when you aren’t used to using your abs to eat, they get really weak. The belly begins to get lazy and this crazy weird pooch begins to hang over the top of your jeans. Most don’t realize it is even happening until one day we are all certain some gremlin has gone into our closet and sewn our favorite jeans together.

I couldn’t understand at first why I was getting winded while I was eating. I eat fast, chew, swallow, shovel. I realized each bite I took I was leaning in, compressing my abs. Leaning back to chew, relaxing the abs, swallow, then lean forward again… it was becoming a form of simple exercise. It made me slow down. I actually ate less. I’m feeling healthier even after just a week!

Of course perception is reality and the reality is that eating a meal doesn’t qualify as walking a mile and a half around the block, but I still take my wins where I can get them.

Imagine if everyone went back to the dinner table? The routine of leaning towards the plate will be exercise, an ab crunch every bite you take. It slows down your eating giving your body a chance to get full before the food is all gone so you eat less. Plus there’s that whole, no TV so family needs to talk and get caught up with each others lives.

I can’t imagine a better way to share dinner time!
It would be healthy for the body, heart and soul.

Let’s all go back to the dinner table and treat ourselves right.