Rather than provide a stock set of nutrition tips (eat more veggies, watch your portion sizes, alternate alcohol with plain mineral water), I thought it was time we start training for Christmas, specifically how to reconnect with your body, ditch the guilt, avoid over eating and gain pleasure from the foods you eat.
The Christmas period is a time to relax, relish in the company of family and friends, amidst the warmth of summer sun with wonderful food and refreshing drinks. The holiday season can stir up a myriad of thoughts and feelings related to food and weight. My hope for you is the 2016/2017 Christmas and New Year season will be one where you can enjoy all the wonderful food without fear, guilt, shame or over eating.
How I hear you ask? The key that unlocks this freedom is what we call mindful eating.
Mindfulness with its origins in Buddism, is an awareness of the present, allowing thoughts and feelings to pass without judgment. Mindfulness in the context of eating includes bringing all your senses (sight, smell, touch, taste and texture) to the food that you are eating. This training can help you start to identify and differentiate when you are physically hungry, emotionally hungry, tired, bored or eating just because there is food around. It also helps to break the automatic process of eating in response to an external cue and creates a small space between the desire to eat and the act of eating or seeking out food for comfort.
The basic principles of mindful eating include:
- Thinking about the food or meal you are going to eat
- Seeing the food in the bowl or on the plate
- Being present to the act of taking the food from your plate to your mouth
- Noticing the initial aromas, flavours and textures as you take the first bite.
- Experiencing the process of chewing slowly and paying attention to swallowing and sensations as the food passes down your throat.
10 simple steps to eat more mindfully
- Plan a time when your not in a rush and choose your favorite food or meal
- Ask yourself am I hungry
- Rate your hunger on a scale of 1 – 10 (1 ravenous, 10 stuffed full)
- Explore the food in front of you. Notice the space it occupies on the plate, the different shapes and colours
- Place a small amount of food onto the fork or spoon, take it up to your lips and notice any sensations arising in your mouth
- Place the food on your tongue and let it rest, paying attention to any sensations in your mouth
- Move the food around your tongue and take a bite, paying attention to sensations arising in your mouth
- Notice what happens as you consciously prepare to swallow this small first bite
- Check in with how satisfied you feel (0 – unsatisfied, 10 completely satisfied)
- Repeat the process engaging all your senses in the process.
This is designed to be a very slow process and will seem incredibly strange at first. I would be incredibly interested in hearing any insights you develop in the process, please let me know how you go email@example.com
Taking the time to eat more mindfully can help you become more aware of when you are physically hungry or emotionally hungry and become more in tune with levels of satiety. This will provide you with the awareness that can prevent over eating and the associated weight gain that can come from eating mindlessly.
I hope with this tool you can delight in sharing a meal, relax into conversation, honor your appetite, nourish your body and savor the delish festive food mindfully.
If you are interested in understanding more about your own eating behavior, gaining specific support to become a more mindful and intuitive eater or simply have any questions, contact Jacinta on 0413 288 366 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For the love of food, the joy of eating and a nourished body, mind and soul