I often comment that when we have decided that we want to eat healthy and we are one step ahead in our health journey we actually engage in Mindful Eating. What is Mindful Eating? It is eating with intention and attention: with the intention of caring for yourself and with the attention necessary for noticing and enjoying your food and its effects on your body.
There are several scenarios people usually face right before the holiday season: 1) if you don’t mind putting on those extra pounds during the holidays because you are disciplined enough to go back to your normal self after the holidays, that is totally fine! 2) if you think that holidays are to enjoy yourself and that includes eating everything you want, go ahead! And, finally, 3) if you think that you have been working hard all year round to maintain your healthy weight and you would like to keep doing so during the holidays then Mindful Eating can help you stay on track!
So here are my 9 tips around Mindful Eating to help you enjoy the holidays while also being conscious of your choices:
1. Plan in advance what you will eat and won’t eat. It is very useful to visualize how you will behave around food during the event. Will you eat a little bit of everything? Will you focus on certain foods and leave the others untouched? Will you eat dessert? Have a plan and stick to it!
2. Choose as if you were at home. Just because it is a party doesn’t mean you can go nuts and forget about your eating habits. Stay true to yourself and choose nutritious food like you always do.
3. Eat with all your senses: Look at your plate, observe, smell, taste and take your time to chew your food.
4. Bring your own dish. If you have the opportunity to bring something from home, use this opportunity to bring a nourishing and delicious dish that you know you will enjoy.
5. Attend the event well fed. Sometimes we believe that if we don’t eat much during the day before the event we will somehow compensate. However, a better strategy is to feel well nourished before the party so that we are not starving by the time we see delicious food in front of us. And that includes drinking water before and during the event to ensure that we feel totally satisfied.
6. Don’t nibble while cooking or choose a different chore! If you are assigned a task to help cooking, try not to nibble. If this is way too hard for you then ask for a different chore like doing the dishes, setting the table, offering drinks to guests, you name it!
7. Remember that the event is more about the people than the food. Use this event as an opportunity to network, get to know people better or meet completely new people. Tell stories! Engage in conversation and have the food in the back of your mind.
8. Stop eating when you are 80% full. Stay light and alert, and the best way to do that is by not eating until you are 100% full or even more! Just stop at the right time and you will feel as agile as always.
9. Remember my 90/10 rule. What really matters is what we do every day not what we do from time to time. So eat very healthy 90% of the time and relax a little bit 10% of the time. Let the holidays be that 10% and enjoy!!
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