As we gather together with family and friends to enjoy our hearty dinners during this festive season, it is very easy to fall in the trap of over indulging, which can cause queasiness, unnecessary weight gain, and discomfort.
At BookMeditationRetreats.com, we believe that the practice of meditation and mindfulness can be brought to the table during the holidays through mindful eating. Mindful eating will not only help you be aware of what you put in your mouth, it will also help you eat less and enjoy your food more. To help you along, here are 6 easy mindful eating tips to practice this over the holidays!
Take a moment
When the food is served, don’t immediately dive into your meal. Instead, take a moment to check in with yourself and see how you are feeling. Are you really hungry? Observe your emotions. Are you sad, angry or happy? Emotions can affect the way you eat and how much you eat. Acknowledge your state of mind before you dig in and be aware of how you feel throughout your meal. You are less likely to indulge in comfort eating this way.
Slow down the pace
People often rush through their meals in order to move on to the next thing on their list of tasks for the day. More often than not, eating too quickly results in overeating, as you don’t allow for your body to register when it is full. This Christmas gathering, eat slower, taking time before each spoon to savor the food in your mouth. Chew more times than you would normally do. Be aware of the flavors that run through your mouth with each spoonful of food. Eating at a slower pace will allow for food to be better digested.
Really taste your food
In meditation, practitioners are asked to focus on a part of their body and observe their characteristics. The same can and should be done when it comes to eating. As you chew your food, direct your focus inward towards the flavors in your mouth. Pay attention to the taste – whether it is sweet or sour, bitter or bland. Observe the texture of your food. Is it chewy or soft? Hard? Grainy? Savoring the taste and textures of your food helps you be aware of what you’re eating and enjoy what you put in your mouth.
Do a mini digital detox
Do away with gadgets and phones at the dinner table. Turn off the TV. The distractions of sound and entertainment that your phone and TV will give you may take your attention away from the sensation you would have experience from your food. While eating in complete silence for the entirety of the meal may prove to difficult, especially on Christmas and New Year, try to set aside 2 – 3 minutes of quiet time during the meal where you can focus wholly on the food your are eating.
Know what is on your plate
Chances are, we don’t how our food ends up on our plate. Our awareness of our food extends only as far as the supermarket from which we purchase them. Cultivate mindful eating beyond this festive season by being aware of the source of our nutrients and energy. Practice asking yourself questions about your meals. Who produced them? How did it get here? Learn to curious about the stories behind your food. This way, you will learn to appreciate what you eat more.
Turn it into A Habit!
Don’t just end your mindful eating habits at the end of this year when the holidays are over. Instead take it into the new year! Include it as a part of your New Year’s resolution and make this simple practice into a healthy habit! Practicing mindful eating on a daily basis would not only help keep those pesky extra weight away, it will also help you de-stress and relax, resulting in a better you!
Elaine Clara Mah
Elaine is a Contributing Writer for BookMeditationRetreats.com. She tries to practice mindfulness during mealtimes and hopes to get her family involved as well.