someone is holding a plate with a piece of pie on it

November is the unofficial start of holiday season. And we know from experience that it can be difficult to try to lose weight, or even maintain your weight, during the next couple of months. Everywhere you turn there’s a temptation. It could be your favorite cookie or even a relative encouraging you to eat more when you’ve told him or her that you’ve had enough. You don’t have to resolve to completely avoid all of your favorite holiday treats – after all, your grandmother’s famous pumpkin pie may only come around once per year; but what you should do is make it a point to practice mindful eating (so you don’t fall completely off track) with these tips.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a majorly trending topic right now, but the practice is nothing new. The roots of mindfulness trace all the way back to Buddhism, although you don’t have to subscribe to any specific spirituality to partake in the practice. In general, mindfulness is the practice of being present. Mindful eating – also called intuitive eating – describes a way of eating in which you really pay attention to your food. You slow down, savor its flavor and texture, and really appreciate what’s on your plate and in your mouth.

Mindful Eating Tips

1. Reflect and Scope out the Scene

It’s often the case that holiday meals are set up buffet style. You grab a plate and then start mindlessly filling that plate as you go around the serving table. By the time you get to the end of the buffet, you have a heaping plate of food and you feel inclined to finish the whole thing. Instead, take a step back and survey the food table. Walk around and see what options are available. Decide what you want to indulge in and what you can skip. Pick a few favorites, rather than deciding to try it all. Once you’ve developed a game plan, grab a plate and fill it with your choices.

2. Don’t Pick

It’s tempting to pick at all the dishes while you’re waiting for dinner, but resist the urge. A small bite here and there may not seem like much, but it adds up quickly, especially if you’re picking on cheese and crackers or bread and butter. Skip the pre-meal and wait for the official dinner.

3.Get Rid of All Electronic Distractions

Distractions like the television or your smartphone make you less aware of WHAT and how much you’re eating. Put the phone away and sit away from the television at the kitchen or dining room table. Pay attention to each bite and chew slowly.

4. Distance Yourself from the Spread

After you’ve filled your plate, go sit down at a table that’s not near the food. If there is only one table (where the food happens to be), excuse yourself after you’ve finished eating. Try not to sit around the food table chatting. When you do this, you’re more likely to keep picking, even if you’re not hungry.

5. Eat a Nourishing Breakfast

We often hear of clients who skip breakfast on days when they anticipate eating a large holiday meal. The thought process behind this is that doing so will save calories and therefore minimize weight gain. This is actually flawed thinking. Skipping breakfast generally causes you to overindulge on your next meal, taking in more calories than you normally would have. When you wake up on a holiday morning, have a healthy, filling breakfast. Try an omelet loaded with green veggies or a bowl of old-fashioned oatmeal with some nuts and berries. You’ll still be able to enjoy your holiday meal, but you won’t be ravenous by the time you get to it.

What do you think? Are there any tips for mindful eating that you’d like to add? Any of these that you currently practice? Leave a comment below or start a discussion on our Facebook page.

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