Thanksgiving in our family was typically the same each year. I’d wake up to the smell of rice pilaf and baked turkey. At some point throughout the morning, my mother and I would bake pumpkin pies together. My father would prepare a majority of the dishes and then we would have our small extended family join us for a mostly traditional meal. While there was never any lack of food, I don’t ever remember overeating to the point of discomfort.
Even the most diligent person likely struggles during this time of year. Sweets, treats, and delectable eats abound, hence the traditional New Year’s weight loss that typically follows the holiday season. But does it have to be this way? Can we enjoy the wonderful foods of the season without overindulging and experiencing post-holiday guilt?
Last week, I had an opportunity to ask Dr. Michelle May, founder and CEO of “Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Workshops,” to share her best tips for eating mindfully this holiday season. As a recovered yoyo dieter, she now empowers individuals to take charge of their lives and end chronic dieting and overeating without deprivation or guilt. In the video, she discusses the following tips:
Eat What You Love
- Break your eat-repent-repeat cycle this year. If your diet is too restrictive, you may experience feelings of deprivation and increased cravings, leading to overheating and guilt.
- Instead of rigid rules, practice balance, variety and moderation
- Balance eating for enjoyment with eating for nourishment.
- Eat a variety of foods for interest and nutrition.
- Enjoy all your favorites in moderation.
Love What You Eat
- Mindful eating is eating with intention and attention: with purpose and awareness. For example, set an intention to feel better when you’re done than when you started. Eat with attention by minimizing distractions (TV, computer) and focusing fully on the experience of eating.
- Make eating a multi-sensory experience: appreciate the appearance, aromas, textures and flavors as you eat.
Do What You Love
- Exercise shouldn’t be punishment for eating.
- Discover the physical activities that you enjoy and fit into your lifestyle.
- Being active is a great way to spend time as a family.
How do you avoid over-indulging during the holidays, yet enjoy the foods that you love during this season?