Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present, according to Psychology Today. Being mindful means you observe your thoughts, feelings and body without judgment.
When it comes to food, we often eat mindlessly, not thinking about how our body feels, what our emotions are or even what our food tastes like. We rehash the past, beating ourselves up over eating “bad” foods. Or we focus on the future and what we can and can’t eat.
Eating mindfully allows us to tune into what we’re experiencing in the present moment. It allows us to savor the food we eat, notice how our body feels before, during and after we eat, and release the judgment we have about ourselves when it comes to food choices.
Practicing mindful eating can be especially helpful during the holidays, a time that can bring up feelings of shame about food and our bodies.
So how do you eat mindfully during the holidays? Try these simple steps this holiday season…
- Take a moment to express gratitude for your meal. We tend to jump right into eating after the plate hits the table. Food is a gift that requires the hard work of many people and the environment just to get to your grocery store or farmer’s market. Take a moment to acknowledge where your food came from and express gratitude for how your food will nourish your body.
- Notice the colors, smells, textures and taste of your food. We often eat so quickly that we don’t even taste our food. Slow down and notice how your food tastes. This can actually increase your enjoyment of your food, and you may find yourself eating less.
- Eat slowly. If you have a house full of family or friends, it can feel a bit chaotic. You may find yourself rushing through your meal because the energy in the house feels fast. Place your fork on the table between each bite or refocus on the conversation at the dinner table every few bites. Eating slowly can help you avoid overeating.
- Notice your feelings and how your body feels physically…without judgment. Before you begin eating, notice what feelings are coming up. Do you feel stressed or frustrated? Do you feel content and peaceful? Paying attention to your emotions before eating can allow you to process your feelings before coping with food. During your meal, stop eating for a few moments to notice how your body feels. This will help you gauge how full you are during your meal and can help prevent you from overeating.
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