15 Tips For Mindful Eating During the Festive Season

15 Tips For Mindful Eating During the Festive Season

It’s a familiar scene: the holiday spread is a feast for the eyes, yet the aftermath often leaves us with a feast of regrets.

Statistics show a significant uptick in calorie intake during holiday celebrations.

If you’re tired of starting the new year with the added burden of festive indulgence, it’s time to explore a different approach to your holiday eating habits.

 

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and engaged in the moment, aware of your thoughts and feelings without distraction or judgement. (2)

It’s about appreciating the here and now, and not being overwhelmed by what’s going on around you.

This concept, originating from Zen Buddhism, is about adopting a relaxed, non-judgmental, and deliberate approach to your activities, allowing you to truly connect with the present.

 

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is about taking mindfulness and applying it to your eating habits. It’s not just about what you eat, but how you eat.

You’re encouraged to really pay attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of your food, to appreciate it fully, and to listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.

This practice is not only about enjoying your meal but also about forming a healthy, balanced relationship with food.

By eating mindfully, you may find that you eat less and enjoy your food more.

You’re also likely to digest your food better as you eat slower and chew more thoroughly.

Mindful eating can help you break free from routine eating habits by making you more aware of your eating choices and the reasons behind them.

 

Tips for Mindful Eating During The Festive Season

 

 

Recognise Signs of Hunger

Before you reach for that festive treat, check in with yourself: are you actually hungry?

Learn to recognise true hunger signals, like a growling stomach or a drop in energy levels.

This can help you avoid eating out of boredom, stress, or simply because there’s food available.

 

Sit Down to Eat

Make a point of sitting down to eat, even during the busy festive season.

This helps you focus on your meal and be intentional with your eating, rather than mindlessly snacking on the go.

 

Breathe Deeply

Before you begin eating, take a few deep breaths.

This can help centre your mind and body, making you more conscious of the food you’re about to eat, and more importantly, why you’re eating it.

 

Focus on Sensory Cues

 

 

Use all your senses when you eat. Look at the colours on your plate, smell the aromas, and really taste each mouthful.

This can enhance your enjoyment of the food and help prevent overeating by making you more aware of when you’re full.

 

Stick to a Schedule

Try to eat at regular intervals to avoid the temptation of constant snacking, which is common during the festive season.

A schedule can help you maintain normality and control.

 

Pack Your To-Go Plate First

If you’re at a buffet or a party, decide what you’ll take home before you start eating.

This can help you avoid overeating by reminding you that you don’t need to try everything in one go.

 

Indulge Outside of Holidays

Allow yourself to enjoy festive treats outside of holiday events.

This can reduce the ‘now or never’ feeling that often leads to overindulgence.

 

Practice Coping Mechanisms

Have strategies in place to deal with stress that don’t involve food, like deep breathing or a quick walk.

 

Set an Alarm

Consider setting an alarm to remind you to check in with your hunger levels throughout the day. This can help you stay mindful about your eating habits.

 

Slow Down

Take the time to eat slowly and savour each bite.

Chewing thoroughly not only aids digestion but also allows your brain time to register fullness, potentially leading to eating less.

It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to signal to your stomach its full. (3)

Remember, mindful eating is not about restriction; it’s about experiencing food more intensely and enjoying the pleasures of eating.

During the festive season, this can mean a more satisfying relationship with food and perhaps even a happier, healthier you.

Enjoy

 

 

It’s important to relish the foods you love, especially during the festive season.

Enjoyment is a crucial part of eating and contributes to your overall satisfaction.

When you allow yourself to fully enjoy your meal without guilt, you’re practicing mindful eating.

 

Cut Yourself Some Slack

Be kind to yourself. The festive season is a time of celebration, and it’s ok if you don’t eat mindfully at every meal.

What’s important is that you’re making an effort to be more present and intentional with your eating when you can.

 

Turn off the TV (and other screens)

When it’s time to eat, turn off the television, put away your phone, and step away from the computer.

Distractions like these can lead to mindless eating, where you’re less aware of what and how much you’re consuming.

 

Chew 30 times

Make a conscious effort to chew your food thoroughly – aiming for about 30 chews per bite if possible.

This can help you slow down, digest your food better, and recognise when you’re full.

 

Don’t feel the need to finish your plate

It’s ok to leave food on your plate.

Many of us have been conditioned to ‘clean our plates’, but during the festive season, this can lead to overeating.

Listen to your body and stop eating when you’re full, even if there’s food left.

Mindful eating during the festive season doesn’t have to be a challenge.

By incorporating these tips into your holiday routine, you can enjoy all the delicious foods the season has to offer without overindulgence.

Remember to listen to your body, savour each bite, and most importantly, enjoy the festivities and the company you’re with.

Mindful eating is not just a practice but a journey…

One that can bring joy and balance to your festive season indulgences.

What step will you take today to make this journey a part of your celebrations?

Let this be the year you dine with intention and joy.

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5514330/
https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/
https://hmri.org.au/news-article/can-chewing-help-manage-stress-pain-and-appetite-here%E2%80%99s-what-science-says

Author Bio:

Ryan Snell

Co-founder of Unstoppabl, and industry-renowned certified coach with a degree in Sport and Exercise Science leverages over five years of experience to deliver complete well-being solutions, encompassing exercise programming, sleep, menopause, menstrual cycle management, injury rehab, mindset coaching, and nutritional guidance.

With an impressive record of fostering physical and mental transformations in hundreds of clients during his tenure at Unstoppabl, and a sought-after public speaker on these subjects, his insights have been featured on numerous platforms, attesting to his profound expertise.

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