If you’re like most people you’re probably starting to gear up for the holidays! Parties, family dinners, work obligations and eating on the go all seem to come into play much more this time of year. There is one ridiculously simple thing you can do to ward off the pounds this holiday season: mindful eating. This practice doesn’t require counting calories or cutting out any particular kind of food. What it does require is some attention and intention. You can use this technique at any meal but it’s especially helpful in situations where you might overeat.
Steps to Mindful Eating:
- Identify eating patterns and emotions. Are there certain situations in which you tend to overeat? Do certain emotions or people affect what and how much you eat? Knowing these things prior to the situation allows for better choices.
- Make choices prior to the event or meal. Are you ravenous or not really hungry at all? Let your awareness of internal cues guide your decision about what and how much to eat.
- Set an intention for the meal. Is your intention to be nourished? Full? Eat all of your vegetables before anything else? Be present with the people with whom you are celebrating? Let your intention guide you throughout the meal.
- Appreciate all aspects of the food you choose to eat. Notice and savor smell, taste, appearance and texture, chewing each bite thoroughly.
- Be aware of the time it takes to eat the entire meal. The stomach needs some time to send signals of satiety to the brain. The old adage is that it takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to signal the brain that it’s full.
- Appreciate the moments in between. Be mindful of the presence of the people with whom you’re sharing a meal. Take the time to enjoy the spirit of the event or meal and those around you.