Think Before You Eat: 10 Tips To Eat Mindfully During The Holidays

Tis the season for those holiday parties and family dinners. If you’ve been on a roll, eating right and losing weight, then don’t let these gatherings derail you. You can still have a great time without suffering the aftereffects – namely the weight gain. Follow these 10 tips to eat mindfully this holiday season.

Think Before You Eat: 10 Tips to Eat Mindfully During The Holidays

1. Sit Before You Eat

Sitting while you eat is great for weight loss because it helps you to truly enjoy your food. Standing awkwardly in a corner, balancing your plate as you talk to your Great Uncle Harry can actually cause you to eat more, and rush through it, which makes it hard to eat mindfully.

2. Focus On Your Favorite Holiday Dishes

You’re less likely to grab those filler foods like rolls and potatoes (which you can have all year round) if you focus on those once-a-year favorites that make your mouth water with anticipation. Think about your top three favorite foods, say them out loud, and reflect on why these are your favorites – the smell, the texture, the taste, the warmth – whatever it is that will keep you focused and not overindulging in other, less special, dishes.

3. Purposefully Distract Yourself

When eating is the main event at the holiday party, you can easily fall back on mindless eating. To prevent this, think ahead. Bring some cards, your favorite game, or even some photos you can plan on sharing. This will distract you from the full table of food that others crowd around. When eating at the table, force yourself to put your fork down in between bites, and consciously slow down in order to be more mindful of how much you’re eating.

4. Relax

The holidays are stressful, and with that stress comes the inevitable stress eating. To curb stress eating, find ways to soothe your nerves. Black tea can be a great relaxer, especially since it reduces your cortisol (stress hormone), and helps to calm your nerves. Put on some seasonal music, and step back from whatever’s stressing you – don’t let it cause you to snack.

5. Contribute

Half the guilt of the holidays is knowing that you’re eating food that has double the calories and fat that any normal person would eat on any given day. The solution? Plan ahead. Prepare a dish or two that you know is healthy and that you can count on eating to reduce some of that holiday food guilt.

6. Determine Your Triggers

There are bound to be particular triggers that goad you into mindless eating. Whether it’s sitting directly in front of food or right next to annoying Aunt Sue who tells you that story that you’ve heard going on a thousand times, these can spur on those mindless eating habits. So ascertain your trigger, and avoid it.

7. Stay Ahead Of Your Hunger

Why is it that holiday meals are usually later than normal meals? When you wait all day, your hunger and cravings can go wild, and when they’re finally unleashed, snacking happens that you later regret. Stop this cycle by eating at your regular time to avoid mindless snacking.

8. Doggie Bag It

If you tend to overeat because the food is so scrumptious, then go to the meal prepared. Bring some kind of take-home dish, so that instead of packing it away at the table, you can bring it home and enjoy it over a few days. You’re less likely to overindulge if you know that you’ll be able to eat it later.

9. Craft A Craving Plan

With plenty of holiday dishes swarming around you, that “I want” impulse can easily take over. Be prepared and train yourself to wait it out. Pop a mint in your mouth, and wait until it’s dissolved to determine whether you really want a particular treat or if it’s just a passing craving. If it is a definite want, then help yourself to a small portion.

10. Save The Best For Last

Research has shown that you’re less likely to eat more after you’ve eaten your favorite food. So plan ahead for that happy ending. Savor every lingering flavor, and then be done. You may find yourself not craving anything else after you’ve finished off your favorite. (Appetite Medical Journal)

Now you’re ready to take that holiday party by storm and not walk away with regrets. Use these tips and tricks to eat mindfully, and survive the holidays without gaining unnecessary weight.

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