‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry! If you’re wondering how to balance the holiday season’s abundance of social gatherings and indulgent eats with your healthy lifestyle, wonder no more and prepare to be mindful.
Mindful eating is centered on creating awareness of your eating pace, the flavors and textures of the foods on your plate, the company being shared and feelings of satiety (fullness). When followed, this approach allows you to enjoy the foods you love without worrying over weight gain or guilt.
Not sure where to start? Choose one or two of these tips below to practice at holiday celebrations and beyond. Trust me, being mindful with eating brings far more pleasure than being restrictive or putting foods off limits, especially during this most wonderful time of the year.
Slow it Down
Slowing down in general is a good practice during the hectic holiday season and eating is no exception. To slow down your pace: take smaller bites, chew each bite 15-20 times, put your fork down in between bites or even eat with your non-dominant hand. I’m not going to lie—you may struggle with this one because it feels sooooo strange to apply these tricks. Try thinking about the hands that prepared the meal, the flavors bursting on your taste buds and your gratefulness for the present moment to make it easier.
Tune into Satiety
When you slow down your eating, you’re better able to tune into feelings of satiety and fullness when they actually occur and recognize that you are satisfied (vs. stuffed and overfull) . Take a pause throughout the meal to assess how you feel. When you reach the point of pleasant satisfaction, push your plate away or clear it from your place setting and be done. If others are still eating, simply sip your glass of wine or drink and socialize as you were during the meal.
Focus on the Fun
The holidays are the special time of year when family and friends come together to celebrate with one another. Instead of focusing heavily on what to eat or not (which can be a total drag!), shift your focus to being present, making memories, sharing love and engaging in meaningful conversation with those around you.
Despite your best efforts, if you ‘go overboard’ with the eats, sweets and drinks, don’t feel bad or shameful—it’s not worth it! Remember its only one day and you can resume your mindful, healthy eating habits and fitness routine the next day.
Beth, a.k.a Queen Nutrition Bee
Learn more about how My Happy Plates can help you plan your meals for the week here. We’d love to save you some time this week!