Eat. Play. Love.

Healthy Holiday Tips: Mindful Eating

  • December 27th, 2011

Eat & Drink Mindfully.

I’m not saying to skip the cookies and the wine, (and not just because those happen to be my favorite things) but enjoy them mindfully. Believe it or not, our bodies do know when to stop if we are paying attention. Alas, we often get caught up in the excitement of social gatherings and ignore the signals (flares in some cases) our bodies are giving us. Enjoy your food, slowly. Savor each bite and sip. Now, if you overdo it, don’t beat yourself up as this is not helpful and creates even more guilt and anxiety during the Holidays. When we have negative feelings or anxiety around particular foods, it creates a stress response in the body. Cortisol levels raise, blood sugar levels rise and a host of other physiological responses that create weight gain. Enjoy it, call it an experiment and let it go. Stay mindful and just notice how the food or beverage affects you right after you eat or drink it, a few hours after you consume it and even a day or so after the event. How’s your mood? Energy levels? Digestion? Are you having any cravings?Also, if you reduce sugar and highly processed foods where you can and cook whole, nutrient-dense foods at home, you’ll still manage to keep your energy levels up, maintain good digestion and keep your mood stable. Finally, remember to drink your water! Although the weather might be frightful and it feels as though your water needs are less when it’s cold, many of the foods and beverages we consume (i.e. refined carbs, alcohol, animal protein, sugar and caffeine) during the Holidays actually increases our need for hydration.

 

Deconstruct Your Cravings.

What are you craving? Why do you think you’re craving chocolate? Sometimes cravings are due to either a lack of nutrients or an over-abundance of certain foods. For example, to little or two much protein or fat can cause cravings. In addition, an overabundance of sugar and refined carbs in the diet can create sweet cravings. Cravings can also be due to dehydration, hormones, stress or a desire to embrace the seasons by incorporating particular foods. Perhaps your life is missing some sort of sweetness this time of year or reminds you of a happy time in your life that you are looking to re-create. Cravings aren’t a bad thing. They are your body’s way of telling you something important so embrace them? Understanding them will help you to make lifestyle changes that will result in increased energy and happiness.

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