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    News — mindfuleating

    3 Healthy Mindset Shifts to Embrace These Holidays (manage holiday temptations, eliminate food guilt and enjoy the festive season)

     

    For anyone working on health or weight loss goals, the beginning of a new holiday season can sometimes feel a little bit stressful. There’s usually lots of parties and socialising with friends and family, and decadent holiday foods play a huge part in the festivities.

    The thought of the approaching holiday season can sometimes spark fear of overindulging or gaining weight, so we thought it would be beneficial to put together 3 healthy mindset changes that you can make this festive period, so that you can enjoy holiday eating, and have more time for celebration, family and friends.

    One: Be flexible

    Be flexible, aim for improvement, not perfection (especially during the holidays). Striving for perfection with the “all or nothing” mentality with no middle ground or compromise will let you down. Goals and intentions are amazing to set up, but make sure that they’re realistic and achievable. If you have made a plan for yourself for the holidays, make sure that it’s not going to make you feel restricted and deprived. Having realistic goals in place will make you feel more empowered around your food choices and you’ll be less likely to overindulge, compared to if you had set up rigid goals that were unattainable.

    Take home: Create goals that you know you can achieve  

     

    Two: Enjoy what you love (and leave the rest)

    The holidays always involve amazing selections of delicious foods, from appetizers and cocktails to beautiful roasts, cookies and desserts. You know yourself better than anyone, so you know what foods you absolutely love and have been looking forward to all year. When you arrive at your holiday party, ask yourself “what would I enjoy here?” and then fill your plate with those things, and leave the rest. This will help to avoid the mindless “eat everything in the room” mentality, which is often prompted by strict expectations that you may have first put on yourself (not always, but often).

    Take home: Take the time to choose the foods you want to enjoy

     

    Three: Give yourself permission to enjoy

    Holiday foods are known to be super indulgent and yummy, and are usually “special” unhealthy foods that we only eat on celebratory occasions. These foods have the purpose of bringing us pleasure, because they taste amazing and someone we love usually made the food for us. When we are eating food that is meant to bring us pleasure, it’s hard to receive that pleasure if we have feelings of guilt, or we’re checking ourselves out from the eating experience. Being present while eating and using our senses to smell, taste, chew and enjoy the food allows us to really receive the pleasure that the food is giving us. When we make pleasure the priority during eating, it becomes harder to overeat because we’re more in check with ourselves during the eating process (and overeating is also not very pleasurable!).

    Take home: stay present with your food choices throughout the holiday season

    We hope that you found this short list of holiday mindset-change tips helpful. As December creeps up on us remember to keep your health goals in mind, but stay mindful and stay open…maybe even let the holidays guide you a little bit! 

    Are You a Distracted Eater?

    Are You a Distracted Eater?

     Our world is so chaotic these days that it seems almost indulgent to take the time to eat without distractions. Distractions are normal and expected, especially as most of us spend most of our day multitasking, even when we eat – aka distracted eating.

    What a lot of us don’t know is that distracted eating can actually cause us to overeat later on, but paying attention while eating a meal is linked to eating less. These findings have been reported in many studies, including one published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Eating mindlessly (or while distracted) can mean not tuning into our signs and signals that help us register fullness. The result is we tend to over eat at the time or later on, as we graze and snack on more foods in a search for satisfaction.

    Are you a distracted eater?  Do these sound familiar to you?

    • Eating breakfast in the car on the way to work
    • Eating lunch at your desk while working
    • Eating dinner in front of the TV, or while on your phone
    • Having important conversations while eating a meal

    Although some of these situations are sometimes unavoidable and just a part of our busy lives, it’s important to try to create time for eating without distractions. 

    If you practice eating without distractions, you will recognise fullness and feel more satisfied with eating less.  You may also notice other subtle signals or cues like noticing hunger, or noticing if certain foods don't agree with you (bloating, burping, light headedness).

    Savouring meals with all their multi-sensory aspects also helps to eat more mindfully. Notice the taste, the aroma of the food, the different textures and of course the wonderful tastes!

    When we eat slowly and without distraction, we often digest our food better too.

    So there's plenty of reasons to notice if you are distracted eater and to see if you can instead plan to eat sitting down, chewing slowly, without distraction as often as you can.