The holiday season can be a joyous time spent with our loved ones. For many people, it can also be a bit stressful due to the temptation that comes along with our common seasonal foods.
This is why mindful eating is essential. Mindful eating involves observing how the food makes you feel and the signals your body sends about taste, satisfaction, and fullness. In mindful eating, you are encouraged to maintain an in-the-moment awareness of what food and drinks you are putting into your body.
It’s very possible to enjoy the holiday season while still enjoying the seasonal foods that you love. We’ve put together a short list of ways to help you be mindful this holiday season.
1. Pay Attention When You Make Your Plate
Seeing all that delicious food spread out, it can be tempting to get a little bit of everything on your plate. However, health experts suggest recollecting what your favorite foods are at the table before making your plate. A lot of us accidentally fill our plates with foods that we could do without.
2. Get Away from “Good” and “Bad” Foods
Have you ever heard that everything is good in moderation? When it comes to enjoying the savory foods that tend to accompany the holidays, this rule applies as well. Studies have shown that we make it harder to have a positive relationship with food when we have designated “good and “bad” foods in our heads. Instead, focus on the amount of food that you are consuming and how it makes you feel.
3. Check-In with Your Body
As you’re eating, be mindful of how you feel. Are you getting full before your plate is cleared? Did you finish your plate and want seconds? In being mindful, we shouldn’t be ashamed of listening to what our bodies are telling us. As you eat your meal, take notice of how the food is making you feel. Even when you’re done eating, continue checking in with yourself. Did the meal give you energy, make you tired, or make you anxious? Taking note of how your body responds to specific foods is an important step in mindful eating.
4. Bring a Game or Activity
PsychologyToday suggests bringing a game or activity to distract from the food at holiday gatherings. It’s a lot easier to overeat when the only thing to do is eat! Bringing board games, card games, or a family photo album gives a fun activity for everyone to participate in!
5. Take Home Leftovers
If the food might be so scrumptious that you can’t get enough, bring your own Tupperware! Knowing that you can enjoy the food again later on may help you to not overeat. (And we bet that the chef will be flattered!)
The important thing to remember is to not be too hard on yourself if you eat more than you’d like to this holiday season. When it’s all said and done, stress, shame, and guilt about food that you’ve already consumed isn’t productive. The best way to move forward is to make a plan on how to do better next time. Mindful eating isn’t an overnight adjustment for most people, so give yourself time and grace to get accustomed to this new way of eating.
Having a healthcare specialist that is dedicated to helping you on your journey with mindful eating is a great place to start. Click below to learn more about our Weight Loss program or book an appointment.