The holidays are a time we end up being exposed to foods and treats we don’t always eat year round. Sometimes the exposure to these foods on a regular basis can be hard to resist, but one way to work with cravings for certain foods is to allow regular access to these foods in regular structured meals and snacks and most importantly we need to pay attention when we eat them.
For example, if cookies and chocolates are lying around your home or workplace during the holidays, the method is to treat them like any other food that you don’t have too often like ice cream or pizza. You can choose to structure these kinds of foods into your diet once or twice a week. They key is to have things that you really enjoy in moderation, but not everyday. When you allow yourself to eat foods that you really like, you can enjoy them and leave the guilt behind.
As humans, we are omnivores, meaning we need a large variety of foods (as much as 50 different kinds) to be able to receive all the vitamins and nutrients we need to be healthy, says Michael Pollan in his book- In Defense of Food. Processed refined grains and foods with high sugar content are often prolific during the holidays, but they don’t add any health value or nutrients to our diet. One way to change up your food choices during the holidays is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season and which you can prepare in many delicious and healthful ways. When we start to move our thoughts and choices around food as something to eat for health and enjoyment, we will start making different food choices.
In a past newsletter, we spoke about tips for mindful eating. It may be good to review and practice these over the holiday season. Mindful eating works best with consistent practice. A helpful start is to pick one meal or snack each day to practice eating mindfully.
A mindful meal is defined as one in which you pay attention to what you are eating, enjoy it, and feel satisfied, not stuffed or starving. This will enable you to fully experience and enjoy the food you are eating and reduce mindless holiday eating.
Mindful Eating Review: - Slow down when you eat and pay attention to the taste, temperature, and texture of the foods you are eating. - Be aware of when you are mindlessly eating. - Allow yourself to eat the foods you crave in a mindful way. - Identify and catch yourself when you start engaging in mindless eating due to emotional triggers. - Try not to engage in distractions such as reading or watching television while you are eating.
* If you are interested in cultivating a mindful eating practice and want to learn how to enjoy and eat all kinds of foods in moderation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for coaching in mindful eating.