The holidays are upon us, and whether you’re ready or not, delicious holiday food is on its way. This also means that unhealthy eating habits can form, but this does not have to be the case for you! By practicing mindful eating, using the Sample Method, avoiding extreme hunger, and choosing healthier options, you’ll be able to enjoy this season and maintain healthy holiday eating habits in a sustainable way.
Mindful eating refers to the practice of checking in with your body continually as you eat. This ultimately leads you to noticing when your body is full, helping you avoid overeating. Practicing mindful eating can be difficult at first, but is doable by following these steps:
- Minimize distractions when you’re eating – Just try to focus on the task at hand: eating. First, you’ll be able to be more present with your delicious holiday food, and hopefully enjoy it more. Secondly, you’ll be able to check in with yourself to see when you are full.
- Eat Slowly – Eating slowly will help you avoid overeating, and will hopefully allow you to notice when you’re full. Common signs of feeling full are: lack of hunger, and feelings comfort and calmness.
- Know your body’s cues that it’s full – This may not be apparent if you do not practice mindful eating often, and only knowing when you’ve overeaten is not helpful either. This will take practice, so you may want to try this before the holiday approaches. If you generally eat quickly, you’ll have to make a conscious effort to slow down. To practice this, try eating smaller portions of food at a time, and stopping briefly after each portion to see if you’re still feeling hungry. A food journal may also be helpful in this process; not necessarily to write what you eat, but rather to jot down how your body feels after certain amounts of food.
Sample Holiday Eating Method:
If you want to try it all, make your portions small! If you can’t resist three different types of pie at the dessert table, try having small servings of each. This will satisfy your sweet tooth, and you’ll only be eating the equivalent of hopefully one piece of pie. This can also work for any other holiday foods- just make sure you are serving yourself smaller portions of each different food, so that you are able to sample them all without being overly full. By pairing the Sample Method with mindful eating, you’ll be able to enjoy each bite of food more and maintain those healthy holiday eating habits.
Don’t Starve Yourself:
Starving yourself from eating in hopes of enjoying as much as you want on one big holiday can have negative effects on your body. According to Huffington Post, not only will starving yourself make you irritable, but it can also drop your blood sugar levels, which can be very harmful.
Additionally, if you are depriving yourself of food for a long period of time, your body can go into starvation mode, and your metabolism will slow down. This can have undesirable effects on your weight and health— a slower metabolism can actually result in weight gain. Make sure you are eating when your body is hungry, and that you’re not ignoring your own hunger cues.
Eat (or Make) Healthier Options for Your Holiday Dinner:
Our last suggestion to you is to cook the holiday feast that will make you feel the best. If you don’t want to be tempted by annual holiday food options, or if you have food restrictions or preferences that differ from others you are planning to eat with, make yourself some options. One way this can be done is by making a typical holiday dish vegan or vegetarian. You can accomplish this in any way you’d like, but just make sure that you still make it enjoyable, and have fun during the cooking process!
Maintaining healthy holiday eating habits can be challenging, but there are a lot of ways you can make small changes to accomplish this goal. Remember to be kind to yourself, and most importantly, listen to your body. Overeating or starving yourself aren’t healthy options, so make sure that you’re doing what you can to make your body feel happy.
Are you noticing issues with your health, such as unusual weight gain, that may not be related to your diet? Healthpointe specializes in a wide range of specialties, such as orthopedic care, occupational medicine, physical therapy, and more. If you would like to schedule an appointment, you can click here to request one, or call (888) 824-5580 to see which location is closest to you.