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  • Writer's pictureBeth A Reddy DC

Mindful Eating through the Holiday Season

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

The Holidays are here! Parties, family and friends gatherings, LOTS of delicious rich foods, and sometimes, stress, tension, exhaustion and overindulgence.

Why don’t we discuss some ways to be mindful about one’s eating during the holiday season? After all the hustle and bustle, feeling guilty about eating is the last thing we need on our plates (pardon the pun). Let’s keep our spirits up and our blood sugar levels stable by inviting these mindful practices into our holiday eating:

Eat slowly. The holidays can be a time of trying to do too much, too fast. Slowing down is the way to savor the time and the food in front of you.  How do you slow down your eating? Before starting the meal, take 5 deep breaths. Take smaller bites. Chew each bite 15-20 times. Put your fork down in between bites. Take a deep breath between bites. Use your less dominant hand. Whatever works for you to slow down your eating will help you enjoy your food more and not mindlessly overeat.

Tune into your feelings before you get over-stuffed. Since it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to let your brain know it’s full, it’s important to give yourself breaks. If you’re eating quickly, you don’t give your brain a chance to catch up with your stomach, and by the time your brain gets that signal, you probably overate. When you slow down your eating, you’re able to tune into feelings of satiety and fullness when they occur, preventing the “Food Coma” feeling. Help yourself to one plate of moderate portions and stop eating for 20 minutes after finishing. That way, your brain has a chance to catch up and prevent too much eating.

Instead of focusing on food, focus on the company you're with.  For many people, the holidays are the one time during the year when family and friends come together to celebrate with one another. Shift your mindset to focus on catching up with your out-of-town family and friends you haven’t seen in ages. Lean back in your chair, and observe your surroundings. Focus on expressing love. Focus on conversation. Focus on being present. The best gift you can give is being present. Let your body and mind connect to your surroundings and let that be the highlight of the occasion.

Choose your favorite indulgences and savor them. Mom’s pecan pie? Grandma’s pumpkin cheesecake? Whatever your favorite holiday indulgence tradition may be, savor it. Don’t restrict yourself. That will only create negative feelings and make you want to overeat. Grant yourself permission to enjoy your favorite treats. But, the catch is, really enjoy it. Don’t rush. Savor each and every bite. Breathe between bites. Take a photo of it. Make it worth it. Don’t waste time eating anything that isn’t your favorite!

Remember it’s just one day. It is just one day, and the key is that you get back on track the next day. If you “screw up” the day of and eat more than feels comfortable, don’t beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself. Return to your regular healthy eating habits and exercise routine the next day with a sense of gratitude and love, and your body will thank you. Let us know how your eating is improving! Call us and make an appointment at our South Berwick, office today! (207) 200-3113.

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