Mindfully Having Your Holiday Treats

We are smack in the middle of the holiday grazing period.  All of the break rooms Happy Holidaysare filled with candy, cookies, donuts, chocolate, cakes, and pies.  Brunches and holiday dinners with family and friends have tables filled with an overabundance of food. What to do?

These are just a few simple thoughts I want to offer you as you make your journey through the daily opportunities to eat holiday delights.

  1. Mindfully assess the situation. There will probably more food than you could possibly try or taste. Pick out the items that you think look the tastiest and just eat those.
  2. Relax. Enjoy the food you’ve decided to eat and savor it fully.  If you relax while you eat, you will be able to register fullness sooner and you will be less anxious –therefore not in as great a risk to overeat.
  3. Eat as if for the first time. Sometimes those treats that we think we like don’t taste that great if we eat them mindfully. Try tasting your food with a beginner’s mind. I recently tried this with a class of Eat for Life participants. One person brought in “puppy chow” for us to try because she said it was impossible to eat it mindfully.  We each ate only three pieces of this chex, peanut butter, chocolate, butter, and powdered sugar concoction.  I doubt that most of us will ever eat it again. If the food you eat is only palatable eaten by the handful, you might want to question if you really like it.  If it’s food you still really like, then you will be able to savor it fully.
  4. Beware of your hand that unconsciously reaches for food. If your office is like ours, there has been a daily influx of holiday treats. People commonly say things like, “I didn’t even want the donut but it was there so I took it.”  I would recommend questioning that strategy.  Do you really want to eat it just because it’s on the table? Or, if you’re standing at a party, try standing away from the food so that you’re not just automatically reaching for food that’s an arm’s length away.  It is estimated that we make 200 food decisions a day on a regular basis, but I’m sure that number increases during the holidays.  Make mindful, conscious choices and you will feel much better after the holidays.
  5. Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. This is no forbidden food so you can eat anything that you want. Having holiday treats can be a wonderful way to celebrate. When you don’t prohibit yourself from having food then it is less likely you will binge on it.

If you eat more than you planned, don’t get down on yourself.  This is the hardest time of the year to eat mindfully.  Enjoy every morsel! Enjoy your life! Enjoy the blessings of the season! Your happiness will help you be the best you can be and eat in a way that honors your body.

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