If you celebrate the holidays, this time of year can be a fun-filled but also high stress time period. With stress comes changes in our eating habits, including more eating on the go, more mindless eating of widely available treats in the office, at school, or at home, or maybe even restriction of our favorite foods due to fear of weight gain. All of the above can negatively impact both our physical and mental health, but the holidays are surely not a time to deprive ourselves of the foods we love or deprive ourselves of participation in the celebration of the season. It’s simply a time we can practice more mindfulness and really listen to what our bodies are telling us in regards to hunger, fullness, and cravings. If you want to start eating more mindfully TODAY, check out the tips below. They’re great for any time of year, but especially when stress is high.
6 Tips for eating more mindfully TODAY!
Adapted to a HAES perspective from: https://experiencelife.com/article/7-ways-to-eat-more-mindfully/
1. Don’t go grocery shopping overly hungry. Grab a snack before grocery shopping. Shopping while you’re fed will help you to buy a balanced variety of foods and truly tune in to what your body wants and needs rather than what it demands for instant energy in a starved state.
2. Eat meals on plates… at a table. Minimize eating on the go, in the car, at your computer, or walking around the house multi-tasking. Making meal time seem like a distinct/separate activity will help you focus and tune in to what you’re smelling, tasting, and enjoying, increasing your awareness of hunger and fullness. Even if you just want a snack, put it on a plate!
3. Make a wide variety of food visible. Keep a wide variety of items from each food group: grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and fats, on display in your pantry or fridge. Turn labels facing outward so you can see and read them. Use clear plastic wrap or clear containers for leftovers so you can easily see what’s available. If you see a wide variety of food, you’re more likely to make the choice you truly want rather than just grabbing the first thing you find.
4. Minimize mess in the kitchen. By minimizing how out of control your environment feels, you can help minimize out of control/mindless, emotional, or binge eating. Something as simple as straightening up a few dishes or some mail on the counter into a neat pile to tidy things up can help you feel calmer and more relaxed about eating in the space.
5. Put food away. Once you feel satisfied, place leftovers in the fridge, boxes back in the pantry, etc. Keeping food out all day long or in rooms like the family room, den, or bedroom rather than the kitchen, increases chances for eating outside of your true hunger cues.
6. Minimize distraction. Minimize “screens” like computers, TV, Kindles, or ipads… these can steal your attention away from tuning in to your body and how hungry or satisfied you are. You don't have to eat in silence, though! Conversation with another person is an ideal meal time activity to keep you grounded in the moment.
Remember the reason for the season. Give back. Help others. Be kind. Be present. Enjoy life and the nourishment that food can provide your body during this time.
Happy holidays and best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!
If mindful eating is something you are more interested in, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an assessment today. We would love to meet you and help you meet your health and wellness goals through mindful and intuitive eating!