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Take a More Mindful Approach to Eating this Holiday Season

Take a More Mindful Approach to Eating This Holiday Season


With the holiday season in full swing, many of us are enjoying the fact that we feel entitled to “let go” a little and not worry quite so much about counting calories, carbs, or fats, as we recognize that the holiday parties and special foods will be here for only a short time. Still, in the back of our minds (and perhaps when we step on the scale), we know that we will “pay” for our indulgences eventually and will have to make up for them in the new year.


Why not compromise a bit while enjoying the special treats of the season, and still remain true to your goals by eating more mindfully?


Being mindful means deliberately paying attention, non-judgmentally. Mindful Eating is new a way of approaching our relationship with food. Recent research tells us that by using a slower, more thoughtful way of eating, we eat less and can avoid weight gain, even while eating the foods we enjoy. The mindful eating approach moves you from “auto-pilot” to full awareness of what you are eating and why. It addresses food triggers, cravings and impulsive eating from a mind/brain perspective.


Below are some tips for mindful eating over the holidays:


  Eat with full awareness, not mindlessly. Pay attention to each bite, savoring all the flavors, smells, colors and sensations. You will gain full satisfaction with less consumption.


  Pace your eating. “Check in” with yourself every few minutes, asking Am I still hungry? Am I still enjoying this as much as I imagined?


  Curb cravings. When reaching for a snack, consider whether stomach-hunger (a physical cue that your body needs fuel) or mouth-hunger (cravings for a particular taste, such as a salty snack, or a sensation, such as the crunchiness of potato chips) is driving you. Remember that cravings are a passing sensation. If you delay eating, just for a few minutes, the craving may likely disappear.


  Control portion sizes.  If you eat mindfully, with full awareness, you can likely cut your portions by 25% - 50% and still get the full enjoyment you are seeking. Be mindful of your larger goals of health and fitness at the same time, and you will not feel that you are depriving yourself. Instead, you will feel that you have achieved a perfect balance between indulgence and sensible, mindful eating…and you will thank yourself after the holidays are over!


Rita Milios, LCSW, the Mind Mentor, is a psychotherapist, author and workshop presenter from Kissimmee, FL. She can be reached for information regarding workshops or spiritual coaching services at Or call Rita at 863-496-7223.

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