||photo by: lettucebehealthy
Research out of Cornell University indicates we make, on average, more than 250 food decisions on any given day (and that isn't even counting the holiday season) All the holiday fun, family and celebrations are wonderful but Sometimes it's hard not to get drawn into the vortex that can leave you feeling overwhelmed, overworked, depleted and overindulged.
When this happens we tend to give up on our healthy choices, our positive lifestyle habits, and give into food cravings, mindless eating, and that "coach potato" mind set.
Celebrations, and occasional indulgences are fun, but when October Halloween candy flips a switch that turns into November pumpkin pie, to December Candy Canes and Peppermint Bark, to February Valentine chocolates (yes, even dark chocolate) its time to step back a bit and be mindful this long holiday season.
Here are a few tips to get a better understanding of becoming mindful with your relationship with food and yourself is holiday season.
1. Recognize emotional eating:
For most, there is usually an emotion that is linked to mindless eating. Stress, fear, anxiety, can through you off the rails when it comes to making the right food decision. Even happiness and festive occasions can disconnect you, because for many, celebration mean food. The challenge is to change the emotion first, then the food. A recent study showed that over 26% of overeating unhealthy snacks was driven by emotional eating. Most of the time, it becomes eating for comfort, not hunger. Observe what part of you is actually hungry. Is it your eyes? (That looks good) your nose,? (tempted by a smell)Your heart? (Emotionally sad, excited, or unfulfilled) or is it your stomach? (Your tummy is making noises and you need fuel ASAP).
If we ended the emotional tie to food then we would have a much better chance in making the healthier and happier decisions.
2. Move that body:
When things get busy, stressful, and challenging, exercise is the first to go out the window. But it shouldn't be. Your mind, body and relationships will be much happier if you keep moving. Even if your schedule has changed up, holiday travel, guests in town, the important thing is to keep moving. The endorphins (hormones that are secreted within the brain that cause that "feel good" effect) that get released during a run, yoga , a brisk walk, or other exercises, help reduce stress and leave you feeling happier and healthier.
3. Light bulb Moments:
Awareness is the first step to change. When you pay attention to your thoughts and your emotions, in regards to food, that little light bulb goes off in your head, so you can stop, think, and make a conscious choice. Be aware to control portions, eat slowly, eat when hungry, take a breath and savor your food. Get grounded, be conscious, and honor the process. Being in a state of fight or flight will lead you to a mindless path of choices that you really don't want to make.. So flip that switch on.
4. Sit, Eat and Reflect:
We are all busy and rushed at times, especially at the holidays. So many opportunity's to eat ,but not in a mindful way. Resist eating while on the go, standing up, watching TV (you may eat 25% more), at the computer or even driving. It is hard to keep track of what your eating and how much. It takes about 20 minutes for the feeling of fullness to reach your brain. So sitting and eating slowly, calmly and mindfully aids in better digestion, weight loss, and healthier food choices. So next time, pause, have a seat, take a moment to reflect and give gratitude for the food you are about to eat.
5. Trust your beautiful body:
Food is to nourish, heal, and to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs. We are born with an intuitive wisdom that lets us know instinctively when we have had enough. This instinct is blurred by diets and what makes us loose our hunger signal response. Your stomach is the size of a fist and can expand to 40 times its size to allow for larger meals and fluid. There is no need to feel completely maxed out (or not eat enough) This causes your body (and brain) to go into stress mode. Stay present, feel comfort, joy, and compassion for your body and give yourself a break. Remember your health, and self worth do not change because of a food you have eaten. Don't let food define you. Trust our body and your healthy choices.
Peace, Health and Happiness,
Lisa Fallon Mindel
PS - In this new year if you or a loved one need Mindful Eating or Nutritional support,
I am here tho help.