Mindful Holiday Eating, Eat What You Love

by Marsha Hudnall MS, RDN, CD

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Eating mindfully during the holidays for weight management Don’t Worry, Be Happy!  Eat What You Love this Holiday 

It’s not the New Year yet, but it is a perfect time to toss those old ways of doing things in favor of ones that really make us feel great.

What we’re talking about here is the typical holiday eating advice that’s all about treading carefully for fear we’ll overdo.  For most of us, that just ensures we do.  Rather than enjoying what we eat and staying in touch with how we feel, stopping when our bodies tell us we’ve had enough, we spend our time worrying that we can’t have what or as much as we want.  We lose touch with what or how much we really do want, eating instead out of feelings of deprivation.

Our holiday eating advice:

Embrace the wonderful food of the holiday (and year round). Eat what you love in a way that makes you feel great.  Consider these steps for doing that.

  • Eat when you’re hungry.  For most of us, that means breakfast, lunch and dinner and a snack or two.  But it can also mean brunch and dinner with a snack in between.  Or any variation on the theme.  The key is listening to your body to tell you when it’s time to eat.  Also know that if we don’t eat when we’re hungry, we get too hungry.  That’s a set-up for overeating.  If we do it too often, we can knock our internal cues out of whack, meaning they can start to give us wrong information about what and how much we need.
  • Remember you can always have more later. Telling yourself that you really shouldn’t be eating something, or that you’ll never have it again can lead to overeating.  If you truly give yourself permission to have the foods you enjoy, and know you can have them later, there won’t be the urgency to eat them all now.
  • Move your body in ways you enjoy.  It’s key to feeling good.  And if we don’t feel good, can we really enjoy what we eat?
  • Enjoy.  Embrace the many wonderful things the holidays have to offer – friends, family, celebration, sharing.  Keep food in its place as only one of the delights of the season.  You’ll have a much easier time doing that when you follow these three steps.

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