Wellness Pathway #288 Kitchen Encounters

  • Fact: 50 years ago the average American kitchen measured about 80 square feet, and the average American man weighed about 166 pounds.
  • Fact: Today, the average American kitchen measures about 225 square feet, and the average American man weighs about 191 pounds.

Could those two facts be related? Could our kitchens be making us fat? Jeff Turrentine of The Washington Post argues for just that possibility. It’s more than a coincidence, he concludes, that “the advent of the spacious, open-plan kitchen as secondary living space” would lead people to become overweight and obese. Why? Because we spend increasing amount of time socializing and hanging around food.

Turrentine notes that our whole attitude about kitchens has changed in the last 50 years. Kitchens used to be small, enclosed rooms that served only two purposes: to prepare the food and to wash the dishes. If you weren’t involved with one of those two projects, you were encouraged to stay out. Now, it is assumed that the kitchen will be integrated into the family space, replete with center islands and bar stools. No wonder people tend to pull up a chair and snack while they channel surf or watch a movie.

No one is proposing to go back to the old days, but there were some great suggestions in Turrentine’s article ranging from the simple and cheap to the complex and expensive:

  • Don’t have junk food lying around on the counters (in fact, don’t have junk food at all). That’s a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Don’t eat “family style” with the serving dishes on the table. Put the right amount of food on each plate, and put the rest away, before sitting down to eat.
  • Don’t snack when other people are around. The social pressure to eat makes everyone gain weight.
  • Design those islands with built-in appliances for steaming vegetables and making smoothies. That way, the environment cues you to eat healthy.
  • Design the walls with LCD panels for watching cooking tutorials, recording food logs, and ordering groceries on line.

Those suggestions may not cure America’s overweight and obesity epidemic, but they will certainly shift things in the right direction.

Coaching Inquiries: How big is your kitchen? Do you or people in your family have a problem with being overweight or obese? What are the eating patterns in your house? How could you shift them in a healthy direction? Are there small you could do that would make a big difference? 

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Wellness Coaching programs and to arrange for a complimentary wellness coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Bob.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

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