Top Mindful Eating Tips For Christmas16/12/2020, Malminder Gill, Hypnotherapist
The average person eats 5,373 calories on Christmas Day – that’s three times more than what’s recommended for women and twice what is recommended for men. What’s more, the average person typically gains an extra kilo (2lbs) over the festive season. With much of the normal festive fun being put on hold this year, indulging with food and drink seems an obvious choice.
However, overeating can not only feel uncomfortable but can cause feelings of anxiety and guilt. Furthermore, when you begin eating and snacking simply because food is there, rather than because you really want it or are savouring it, may cause further negative thoughts.
So, instead of restricting yourself and feeling like you’re missing out, or going the other way and devouring everything and feeling guilty, is it time to adopt a mindful approach to eating this Christmas?
By eating mindfully this Christmas, you can still indulge, have whatever you want whenever you want it, but really enjoy, appreciate, and savour it without guilt, shame or that you have to work out or go on a restrictive diet as a way to compensate.
What Is Mindful Eating?
Mindfulness is a practice where you focus on being fully present and in the moment. Mindful eating is when you are fully attentive in the food you buy, prepare, serve and eat. With mindful eating, you don’t let your mind wander off. Instead, you are able to enjoy the experience of eating even more.
Research indicates that eating mindfully can have health and wellbeing benefits. Mindful eating can help to instil healthier eating habits, helping to reduce binge-eating and comfort eating. What’s more, this practice can actually help with sustainable weight loss. It isn’t dieting, but it is ensuring that you recognise when you want to eat, when you’re full, and whether you’re eating what is right for you at that moment.
A key aspect of mindfulness is being in the present moment without judgement. The same applies to eating mindfully too. While you eat, you should berate yourself for eating something unhealthy. Instead, you simply observe the feelings and sensations it brings. There is no guilt, no virtue, just time to stop and really pay attention to what you’re eating.
It may seem impossible to eat mindfully at Christmas. You may think you deserve time off from being healthy. However, mindful eating at Christmas can actually enhance your enjoyment. It is a time to really savour the flavours, to appreciate the work that has gone into the meal and to know that you can eat the chocolates in the tin or the canapes that are circulating without worry.
Top Tips For Mindful Eating At Christmas
Focus On Gratitude
It could be that this Christmas isn’t exactly how you would like or have imagined it. However, there is a lot to be said for being grateful for what you do have. It can help to start your meal by giving gratitude. This can be a private moment where you pause and feel thankful for the work that has gone into your Christmas dinner.
Give Yourself Permission
Depriving yourself or limiting what you feel you are allowed to eat can lead to unhealthy food behaviours such as overeating and obsessive food thoughts. However, by giving yourself permission allows you to facilitate a happier and healthier relationship with food.
Pause And Put Cutlery Down During Your Meal
When conversation is in full flow at the dining table, it can be easy to be completely distracted away from what you’re eating. With this in mind, it can help to put down your knife and fork while you finish your mouthful. This will encourage slower eating and a chance to join in the conversation while still giving you the chance to savour every bite.
Have A Meal Alone
While it’s lovely to be surrounded by family over Christmas, we all need some time alone. With this in mind; it can be really relaxing and restorative to have a meal alone. For some, this may mean waking up early and having breakfast alone. This can be a quite experience where you focus on what nourishes you and sets you up positively. To eat mindfully alone, don’t have any screen distractions, just focus on what you’re eating and the experience it brings.
Plate Up Mindfully
Whether it’s a buffet or roast, it can be easy to pile the plate high. However, many of us were told as children that we had to finish our plates. As a result, we often end up eating more than we want or eating past fullness out of politeness or indoctrination from childhood. Recognise now that it is not rude to have leftovers and it is fine to leave food when you are full. However, it may be better to start with smaller helpings and returning for seconds if you feel you need it.
Avoid Eating With Screens
Whether it is mindlessly scoffing in front of a Christmas film, or doing some Boxing Day shopping on your tablet, you can eat surprisingly high volumes when you don’t even realise it! Where possible, try to focus on one activity at once. So, if you’re eating, dedicate your whole attention to this action. It is likely that you’ll enjoy the Christmas treats far more by giving them your full attention rather than consuming that second mince pie without even noticing it!
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|About The Author|
Malminder Gill is an award-winning Harley Street Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP Master Coach, Author, Speaker and widely-acclaimed Hypnotherapy and Coaching subject matter expert. Her impressive client list includes C-suite executives from some of the world’s largest organisations, royalty, and celebrities, as well as thousands of individuals that she treats in person, or through her many self-help downloads, audio recordings and podcasts.