Posted by Pamela Malo on Nov 20, 2012
The holiday season is in full swing. For many this time is synonymous with festive parties, decadent foods, temping holiday treats, and worries about overindulgences that will culminate in ending the year even farther from where we hoped. Yet again.
But, what if….
What if the holidays were not the time to fall away from health, but a reminder of how to connect with food? How to enjoy food with pleasure, how to eat mindfully, how to be aware and grateful for our life and our body- for all that it is, instead of berating it for all that it is not?
Yes, you can have your cake, and eat it too. Use these six tips to help you navigate eating amid the holiday hustle.
Whatever you decide to eat, enjoy it fully. Every. Last. Morsel. Too often we only actually taste the first few bites of a food before shifting to autopilot, getting caught in our mind, and checking out of the eating experience. Allow yourself to stay present to each bite you take, and the pleasure and sensation that it offers you.
Activate your ability to digest your food fully by taking 3 deep breaths before you eat. Pause during the meal to put your fork down and soak up the moment, as well as the food.
Overeating is the body’s natural response to not getting enough food, having too much restriction, not experiencing pleasure, or eating too quickly. Eat well, eat regularly, and eat slowly— and you may find you are not fighting against one of your body’s most natural desires – to eat.
Perhaps you know that gluten/sugar/red dye #40 does not make you feel good. Creating a food rule (such as “I am never eat sugar”) may sound like a good idea, but often it is not realistic. Instead, reframe this knowledge as an awareness (for example “When I eat a lot of sugar I usually end up on an emotional roller coaster”). When you give yourself a choice, it is easier to choose what will serve you. Rules often lead to rebellion; awareness empowers.
What if instead of counting the calories you eat in a day, you counted the number times you spoke to yourself with kindness (even love!) about food and your body? Many of us have an internal dialogue dominated by our inner food critic and don’t realize there is another option.
Spend a moment being grateful- for the food, for those who prepared it, and for those with whom you share it. If it is not already a part of your tradition, consider sharing a prayer or a poem before your meal. One of my favorites, is below.
And may you remember, that no matter what you eat, or do not eat this holiday season, you are still okay. You are not broken. You cannot be broken. You are spirit in skin.