Hands up if you get overwhelmed – perhaps even irritated – by your news feed telling you how to survive (or avoid weight gain) over the silly season? This year, try a different approach. Mindfulness.
The idea behind mindfulness is to fix one’s attention more on the “present moment” without judgment. When it comes to eating, mindfulness is about experiencing food more intensely — especially the pleasure of it. It involves learning to eat consciously: to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied, rather than using other common eating cues such as the size of the plate, how much the people around you are eating, or what’s in the cupboard. All these things can shape our food choices, and often lend itself to eating more than you need to.
Let’s face it – it’s almost impossible to have an indulgent-free Christmas without pudding, champagne and crackling. But if you find yourself wishing you could curb some of the excesses, keep these mindful eating tips (and tricks) in mind for the ultimate Christmas survival guide.
Sometimes eating is such a routine behaviour that you can eat an entire plate of food and not taste one bite. If you notoriously wolf down your food in record time, try eating with your non-dominant hand or place the cutlery down in between bites.
Can’t wait to sink your teeth Grandma’s pudding? It’s best you save this for the last bite. Research shows that we tend to get more enjoyment and be less tempted to eat more later if we eat our favourite food last.
Take small bites and really pay attention to the taste, texture and experience of eating. Look at the meal; admire the colours, aromas, and enjoy every moment.
Too often our eating is about vanity and not about health. Food is meant to be a source of joy, not stress. Be kind to yourself and stop obsessing on all the things you shouldn’t be eating and instead give attention to the nourishing foods you can eat.
Okay, you pigged out on a Christmas buffet lunch. So what? When you think about the bigger picture, a day or two of over indulgences is not going to make a major difference in your overall wellbeing. It’s more about what you do most of the time, not every so often.