- By Julie Stefanski
- In 2018
- December 20, 2018
Happy (Mindful) Holidays
By Beth Stark RD, LDN
‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry! If you’re wondering how to balance the holiday seasons’ abundance of social gatherings and indulgent eats with your healthy lifestyle, wonder no more and prepare to be mindful.
Mindful eating is centered on creating awareness of your eating pace, the flavors and textures of the foods on your plate, the company being shared and feelings of satiety (fullness). When followed, this approach allows you to enjoy the foods you love without feelings of stress or guilt.
Not sure where to start? Choose one or two of the tips below to practice at holiday celebrations and beyond. Trust me, being mindful with eating brings far more pleasure than being restrictive or putting foods off limits, especially during this most wonderful time of the year.
Slow it down
Slowing down in general is a good practice during the hectic holiday season and eating is no exception. To slow down your pace: take smaller bites, chew each bite 15-20 times, place your fork down in between bites or even eat with your non-dominant hand. If you’re a fast-paced person, incorporating these tricks may feel quite strange. To make it easier, try thinking about the hands that prepared the meal, the flavors bursting on your taste buds and your gratefulness for the present moment.
Tune into Satiety
When you slow down your rate of eating, you’re better able to tune in to feelings of satiety and fullness when they actually occur and recognize that you are satisfied (vs. stuffed and overfull) . Take a pause throughout the meal to assess how you feel. When you reach the point of pleasant satisfaction, push your plate away or clear it from your place setting and be done. If others are still eating, simply sip your glass of wine or drink and socialize as you were during the meal.
Focus on the Fun
The holidays are the special time of year when family and friends come together to celebrate with one another. Instead of focusing heavily on what to eat or not (which can be a total drag!), shift your focus to being present, making memories, sharing love and engaging in meaningful conversation with those around you.
Despite your best efforts, if you ‘go overboard’ with the eats, sweets and drinks, don’t feel bad, guilty or shameful—it’s not worth it! Remember it’s only one day and you can resume your mindful, healthy eating habits and fitness routine the next day. Steer clear of post-holiday and New Year’s ‘detoxes,’ ‘cleanses,’ or other extreme diets and fitness routines that overpromise and underdeliver in the long run.
Beth Stark, RDN, LDN is the Manager of Lifestyle Initiatives at Weis Markets, a family-owned and -operated supermarket chain with 206 stores in the mid-Atlantic region. Connect with her on Instagram and LinkedIn.