Mindful Eating This Festive Season

Yes, yes… I know… All you want to do is ditch the ‘diet’ and stuff your face in front of the telly. But you know you’ll feel crap afterwards, so why do you do it?  

For so many of us the Christmas season feels like a great time for bingeing, feeling totally stuffed, drinking too much, and we think all the gluttony should be ‘guilt-free’ because, after all, it’s Christmas.

But the problem is, most of us, just feel crap… Lying on the sofa feeling extremely stuffed may seem appealing right now. But trust me you’ll just end up feeling sluggish, uncomfortable and all out of energy. So what can you do? Well, here are few tips to get you through the holidays without feeling more stuffed than the turkey…

1. Eat Intuitively. At this time of the year we often just eat for the sake of eating. The box of chocolates gets passed around, the invitations for dinners and social drinks are out in force, and you guess another mince pie won’t do any harm. This year, try recognising and appreciating everything you eat, and be totally present with it when you’re eating it. Notice the flavours, savour the taste, breathe in the smell — it will make every taste more enjoyable, and will help you to process the fact you’re eating for pleasure, rather than out of ‘binge’ behaviour.

2.  Am I Hungry? This is a perfect time to question your decisions around food, because the focus on food all around you is so obvious. Become really aware of the difference between when you’re hungry and when you’re simply eating for the sake of eating. For every decision you make around food, ask yourself: Am I Hungry? Or am I just eating it because it’s there? This will help you to recognise how your body feels in both situations. You should aim to eat when you feel slightly hungry and you should aim to stop when you feel pleasantly satisfied.

3. Embrace The Experience. Christmas can be a truly wonderful time of the year — when else do you get surrounded by people you love, at a time where you don’t need to rush off or be somewhere else or have a call to take? It’s a precious time, made all the better when we treasure it (rather than focusing on those potential family frictions). Take in the delicious smells, notice the smiles on people’s faces as they open their gifts, the songs that are playing in the background, the laughter around you, and even the stunning quiet of nature if you get out for a walk to blow the cobwebs away. There is so much more to Christmas than all the food (though of course it’s a big delicious part of it), and experiencing it all in balance is where you’ll find the magic. (And might just take your eye off that third mince pie of the morning, too…)

4. Celebrate you. 
This season certainly isn’t a time to be punishing yourself. No matter if you forget to follow the above advice, your healthy habits slip a little, or you do end up eating that extra mince pie — or three — this is a time to celebrate how far you’ve come this year, to celebrate what you’ve achieved and to show your body and yourself the love and respect you deserve. Reflect on where you are in your journey, and express gratitude for your achievements.

5. And finally don’t say the words ‘I’ll start in January.’  You know it and I know it, by putting off or burying your head in the sand about your eating habits, even in December, you’re simply prolonging the process and making it even harder for you to glide into the New Year with confidence and motivation. Commit to your change now, and come the 1st Jan you’ll still be enjoying and embracing your lifestyle change, rather than making your lacklustre list of resolutions!

Whatever you do, have a lovely time…!

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