Intuitive and Mindful Eating For The Holiday Season

There is nothing like walking into a kitchen filled with the smells of all of your favorite Holiday foods cooking. That is, until reality sets in and you start thinking about how in the world you will be able to eat all of this food without blowing all the hard work and progress you’ve made in your diet and weight loss journey. Sure, anyone will tell you to just practice portion control, but everyone knows that’s a lot harder than it sounds. How can you just eat a small amount of this food? It all looks and smells so delicious.

The good news is, there is a way and the answer is really obvious. I would have never thought that something this simple could ever work. Thankfully there is no strict list of do’s and don’ts that you have to follow. It is all about changing the way you think about your food. This is called Mindful and/or Intuitive eating.

Mindful eating is eating with enough attention to truly enjoy the taste of your food while you are eating it, and the affect it is having on your body. Intuitive eating is distinguishing between those physical feelings of hunger and the emotional ones.

I can’t remember the last time I ate a meal with no distractions. With no TV, no magazine, no cell phone… It seems like it’s impossible in today’s society. When you are gathered around all of your family for the Holidays (no matter how stressful it may be) enjoy their company and be in the moment because how often do you really see everyone in one place?

So how do you practice mindful/intuitive eating during the holidays?

Make sure you eat before you get there! Starving yourself for your holiday meal will only make you want to eat more… Trust me. Do not let yourself nibble on food, don’t eat anything until you are sitting down with everyone. Pay attention to things that trigger you to just mindlessly eat before the meal even starts. Combat that with a cup of coffee or tea! When it comes time to eat get a little bit of everything on your plate (the key word is LITTLE), a good rule of thumb is don’t let your food touch. If your food is touching on your plate, you may have too much of one thing, or everything.

The most important aspect of mindful/intuitive eating is as simple as paying attention. You want to make sure you are actually enjoying your meal. As you sit there taking bites of your food think about how it tastes. Stop yourself at different times throughout your meal and ask yourself if you are still hungry or if you are getting full. Don’t forget, you can say no to seconds. Usually your host will not object to you taking some leftovers off their hands for later! After you eat, grab another cup of tea or coffee to keep yourself occupied from eating more than you need.

Don’t forget about that slice of pie that you were looking at earlier. As you eat your meal, remember that you need to save room for your dessert as well. A recent study published in the Appetite Medical Journal found that you will be less tempted to eat later, and be more motivated to save room if you eat your favorite food last. They also found that you will enjoy it more than you usually would.

By paying attention to what you eat, you get to both enjoy your food and not be haunted by that guilt later. You don’t need to overindulge to enjoy the special occasion of the Holidays, and you definitely don’t have to gain the extra holiday pounds either!

Amber Hodge

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