Ah, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. Along with time with family, parties, gifts, and decorations, the festive season tends to be associated with tons of food. The worst thing is that we can't avoid it because everybody is feasting, and the last thing we want to do is to offend the relative who prepared delicious food by not sinking our teeth into it. In this situation, losing track of your healthy eating habits that serve you well for the rest of the year is very easy.
But mindful eating might be a handy tool to enjoy all the festive dishes your lovely relatives prepared, keeping you in the same good shape you've been in before the holiday season.
What is mindful eating?
Mindfulness is a Buddhist concept, meaning being aware of what is occurring within and around you. When it comes to eating, mindfulness can aid you in being fully present for the experience of eating and the joy you can receive from meals. Mindful eating can also help you recognize when to stop, meaning fewer chances of overeating. It can also help to control eating out of habit or for emotional reasons.
So how exactly do you practice mindful eating technique? Here are five excellent tips - try a few and see which works best for you.
#1 Learn to separate hunger from appetite
You will be surprised, but hunger and appetite are entirely different things. Hunger is a physiological, instinctive need for food to fuel us up, while appetite is more of a desire to eat, which many factors can determine. Listen to your body signals, and know when you eat because you are hungry and when you eat because factors like good food smell, boredom, or others eating around you stimulate your appetite.
#2 Schedule meals
When hungry, we tend to make impulsive decisions about what to eat. The holiday season is best known for its golden saying - 'save up for the big meal.' Skipping breakfast and lunch can trigger overeating when the time for stuffed duck and various sweets comes.
#3 Slow down
It takes time until your stomach signals your brain that you are full. That is why you should slow down while eating. Two simple pieces of advice can help you out. First of all - chew longer and slower. Try to identify flavors and enjoy the food, not just gobble it up. It will not just save up some time for your stomach to send signals to your brain but also help you behave more like Harvey Specter from 'Suits' instead of a devouring cartoon character. Putting down your flatware between bites is another thing worth trying.
#4 Turn off all the screens
We are so into our phones nowadays that we keep them on the table even when surrounded by loved ones. With your nose sticking to the screen, you are left wondering where all the food from the plate went. In fact, food is not the only thing you've missed. So is quality time with your family or friends as well. These distractions make us less aware of what and how much we eat, so try to keep them away from the table this holiday season.
Mindful eating is not a diet, meaning you don't need to cut anything from the menu. With food, we not only get the nutrients our body requires, but we also express our culture, emotions, and preferences. To feel satisfied, we must eat food we like even though it is not considered healthy. It is all about mindfulness of how much you are having.
Just like bowling, mindful eating takes practice. Take your time and find what works best for you. In time, mindful eating can play a role in your everyday well-being.