During the holiday season, so many of us struggle with being mindful about what we eat. Who else has eaten an entire bag of chocolate pretzels, chips, or snacks and didn’t notice until the bag was gone? With all the holiday parties, the sweet treats are plentiful, the portions are bigger, and we just tend to consume too much food and way too many calories.
Eating well during the holidays doesn’t have to be difficult if we are mindful about what we are eating! Here are our top 11 mindfulness tips for the upcoming holiday season:
1. Check in prior to eating. When you sit down, ask yourself how hungry you are on a 1–10 scale, with 10 being ravenous. Are you stressed, angry, or tired? This helps to not only identify what you’re feeling but to also notice the times you tend to overeat.
2. Put your eating utensils down at least five times during the meal. This helps you not consume your meal too fast and promotes the digestive process.
3. Chew your food at least 30 times. Digestion begins in the chewing process and helps to release enzymes that are needed to digest food. Remember, it takes a tremendous amount of energy to digest food! The more you break food down by chewing, the easier it is on the body.
4. Practice the 80 percent rule. Stop eating when you are 80 percent full. It takes at least 20 minutes for the message to get to the brain that the stomach is full.
5. Use a smaller plate. The larger the plate, the more food we tend to put on it. Your stomach is the size of your fist; consume any more than that and you might be overeating.
6. Drink a glass of water before eating. This helps to fill the stomach and might help you eat less.
7. Try communal-style eating. Studies have shown that we eat 25–30 percent less food when we have communal-style meals. In some areas of the world, this is the only way they eat.
8. Try eating in silence for at least one meal a day or every other day. This introspective approach helps you tune in to the signals that you are full. You will also have a different food experience because your attention is on the taste of the food you’re eating.
9. Give thanks. Take a moment and give thanks for the food you eat. It takes a lot of effort and energy to get it to the table. Gratitude for the food you have is essential for a healthy mind.
10. Turn off electronic devices. The TV and other devices are distractions to staying present during mealtime; learn to shut them off while you eat. Food and eating are wonderful experiences that we share with others during the holiday season.
11. Change your energy around food. Don’t focus on all the foods that are bad for you and how much you want to eat them. Focus on the nutritious foods that help heal your body. When you treat yourself with respect and focus on eating as a way of healing the body, the shift in perspective helps make eating healthy easier.
Try these suggestions for a happier and healthier time with friends and family this holiday season.
-from Brooke Dudley
Young Living Essential Oils