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Yesterday I wrote on Laugh Your Way Through the Holidays (read) and a friend mentioned a blog post from KrisCarr.com on how to avoid overeating during the holidays – when I read it, I knew it was a must-share-with-you! Enjoy!
How to Avoid Overeating During the Holidays
Yay, holidays! Can you believe it’s that time of year already? I don’t know about you, but I’m getting so excited for all the festivities and quality time with family and friends. Makes me so happy!
I gotta admit, though, the holidays can also make me stressed. I’m sure you can relate—there are endless social obligations, a holiday to-do list a mile long and not a lot of time to catch (or connect with) your breath. This busy season brings with it many challenges to our self-care. One biggie? Mindless eating (which typically leads to overeating. Boo!). That’s why I’ve gathered up my best mindful munching strategies for us both to use as we chow our way through lovely holiday meals—and beyond.
From family get-togethers to “Friendsgiving”s to workplace potlucks, there’s no shortage of gatherings that encourage loading up on eats, drinks and treats while chatting away. That’s not all bad—it’s a wonderful time of year, and the delicious goodies (especially the healthy ones!) should be thoroughly enjoyed. The issue many of us face, though, is truly enjoying. In other words, we struggle to stay mindful amidst the merry madness. We leave the party with no real sense of how much we ate or drank, or what was tasty and what wasn’t. It’s all a binge-y blur.
Not to worry, darling—these tips are for just such occasions. Below, you’ll find your guide to navigating the sea of holiday meals and treats from a place of calm intention. Give some of these tactics a try before and during your next seasonal soiree—they’ll help you feel present and aware. Happy holidays, indeed!
Tips to Avoid Over Eating
- Practice self-care first thing. Start the morning of a holiday outing on a centered, healthful note. Show yourself some love with meditation, a work out, a green juice, setting an intention—whatever is going to set the stage for a mindful day.
- Plan for pushy relatives. Every family has at least one: people who are concerned about what is and isn’t on your plate. You can stay on the path you know is right for you without sounding like a jerk—simply decline unwanted food gracefully and graciously. Bonus: Bring a nourishing dish or two. This is a fantastic way to ensure that not only are you getting in some nutrients and supporting your health (and filling up your plate for those concerned family members), but you’re supporting the wellness of loved ones as well.
- Deck-out your table. My mom taught me this tip and it always feels special and festive at her holiday meal. What better way to enjoy the moment than to spruce up the decor and surroundings? Play upbeat or soothing music, light some candles, spray some non-toxic scents—heck, even turn on the football game if it’s part of your tradition. Even if you’re not hosting, you can offer to help with the settings. Being part of the set-up process connects us to the ritual and with our tribe.
- Remove distractions. No email, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram (that one’s hard, I know), etc. Scrolling through your feeds makes it all too easy to miss the deliciousness of the foods on your plate and conversations around you. These things deserve your attention, and you’ll be happy and more fulfilled to have given it.
- Don’t pick; make a plate. It’s undeniably easy to lose track of your intake when bites of food float straight from the serving dish to your mouth with no plate in between. If you want to sample the spread, go for it. Just make yourself a plate, and sit your cute butt down to enjoy.
- Use smaller dishes and glasses. Another sneaky way that more pie and wine make it into our bellies is via oversized plates and glasses. When possible, choose the smaller dishes and glassware to keep an eye on your serving sizes. And don’t forget to haul out the good stuff. You know, the set your grandma gave you that’s too nice to use? Well, you can’t take it with ya!
- Survey the spread before filling up your plate. I do this before I buy clothes or gifts, too. I gotta get the lay of the land before I commit. By getting a sense of what’s available, you avoid heaping on excess mounds of meh offerings because you didn’t realize the can’t-miss items were at the end o’ the line. Instead, you’ll make your plate with intention.
- Pile on the plants, but don’t skip your favorites. Those once-a-year dishes and family-favorite recipes are often the best part of holiday eating! Load up on your veggies, but don’t feel like you can’t have your aunt’s famous apple pie as long as it aligns with your food philosophy (for example, although I might have more sugar than usual at a holiday shindig, I’m still going to pass on anything made with animal products). If you can mindfully indulge, go for it. (But heads up: If you feel like it may throw off your healthy habits for weeks to come, you may want to pass.)
- Sit away from the food. Try to avoid sitting within arm’s reach of the food table. That way, you can’t munch mindlessly for hours on end—you’ll have to consciously make a trip back to the spread if you want a refill.
- Slow down and chew! It seems so simple, and yet with all the holiday hullabaloo, it’s so easy to forget that basic (essential) part of noshing: chewing. Take your time and chew, chew, chew, honey. Your tummy doesn’t have teeth, so it’s up to you. Plus, chewing allows you to taste—and appreciate—what’s on your plate so much more (not to mention digest it better!). Also, try to pace yourself as you work through your plate. Put your fork down between bites. That’s right. Drop it. Take a breath. Jump in on a conversation. Relax. You may find you need a lot less food to feel satisfied if you take your time instead of shoveling it in.
Okay, my dear, are you feeling more prepared and empowered now? I hope so! Using the tips above, you’ll be able to fully soak in the pleasures of the season, while avoiding zoning out or overdoing it.
Oh, one final note: I know sometimes you just have no control over the food that’s offered or the norms of the occasion (say, at a friend’s family get-together, where you kinda just need to go with the flow). Don’t sweat it, toots—break out your self-care toolbox and choose from the non-food-related options. Could it be a wintry walk? Some extra rest? A few minutes to yourself to journal? Even if the eating part of the day doesn’t go quite the way you’d like, you can nourish yourself in plenty of other wonderful ways.
Cheers to fully-present holidays!
Now I’d love to hear from you: Have any of these tips helped you in the past? Or, what tip can you add to the list?
Peace & awareness,
Do you use any of these tips already? Leave a comment & share what’s working for you below.
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Happy, Healthy Holidays!!