MINDFUL EATING OVER THE HOLIDAYS
The holidays are approaching, which usually means one of these things: yummy baked goods, hearty comfort meals, and lots and lots of temptation.
We totally understand why you can’t stop yourself from binging on our delicious VeggiPasta bakes on Christmas eve, we wouldn’t be able to either. However, because we care about your health, here are 4 tips for mindful eating to prevent overeating and guilt.
BEING MINDFUL MEANS ACTIVELY PAYING ATTENTION TO WHAT’S HAPPENING, WITHOUT ANY JUDGMENT.
When applied to eating, it’s about noticing the funky texture of the bite, the extraordinary speed the food is being shoved into our mouth, and the overwhelming stress felt when the last piece of our favorite pie has been taken (HEY! I had dibs on that!).
Why should we eat mindfully, you might ask? Not surprisingly, paying attention to your food helps combat impulsive eating, making sure you don’t face any unwanted surprises stepping on the scale the following morning. Through noticing our pace and making sure we don’t inhale 3 portions in one go, we can improve digestive functioning and actually notice our hunger cues (aka your body telling you that it has had enough!).
TIP #1: WHAT AM I EATING?
This tip is all about actually tasting your food, by noticing its flavors and textures. How many times have we gone through a whole meal in record speed without taking a moment to think about what we just ate? Sit down and take your time to truly savor this meal that has found its way to your plate.
Do a little staring contest with your food and visualize how it is going to taste, be very specific. Thinking about the mouth-watering veggipasta combined with a sweet buttery pumpkin puree already makes the whole experience more satisfying and pleasurable. This process will also help you notice when you are truly full.
TIP #2: DISTRACTIONS!
Celebrating holidays is all about social interactions and connecting with others. Therefore, it is impossible to isolate yourself and be 100% concentrated on your meal (not that you would want to do that anyways). However, forming healthy habits when you engage with others while eating can help you act more mindfully.
For example, practice putting your fork down while conversing (nobody likes hearing you mumble through a mouthful of mashed potatoes anyways). You could also try alternating between drinking alcohol and drinking water to prevent unintended over-drinking.
Watch out! Distractions are not only limited to other people, it can also refer to our own actions. Many people have the habit of using their phones or watching TV during mealtimes, but this greatly distracts them from the task at hand – eating. Being distracted while eating may result in a few extra donuts being unconsciously stuffed into your mouth, pushing you past the point of fullness.
TIP #3: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
All too often we let our minds make the decision rather than listening to our bodies. We reach for the salted peanuts because they’re placed right in front of us, whether or not we’re truly hungry. This holiday, take some time to tune into what hunger and fullness feels like, and act accordingly.
Not only do we have to be mindful of our hunger cues, we also have to pay attention to our mood. Perhaps the spin class in the morning put you in a positive mood, resulting in healthier food choices. Or maybe the stressful thoughts about greeting your annoying third cousin causes you to chug two more glasses of wine. Being mindful of our day-to-day emotions can help us address them in a healthy way, instead of using food as a tool.
TIP #4 BALANCE YOUR WANTS AND NEEDS
Although practicing self-compassion is crucial to avoid feelings of guilt and regret, it is not an invitation to hog the chocolate fountain for a whole hour! Listening to your body helps you pinpoint which dish in front of you truly nourishes you. And when we do give into cravings, simply notice and accept it, without any forms of judgment. This can be hard, trust me I know. But through practice we can learn to balance the two, and the results will be exponential.
Eating mindfully is a one of the best gifts you can give yourself this holiday. Living in the present moment and indulging in your favorite festive dishes without overeating is truly an important skill to master.
Wholy Greens wishes you a mindful holiday!