It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s also one of the busiest, right? With the holidays approaching, it can get super hectic with wrapping up school semesters & work-related projects, attending holiday parties, hosting family, traveling, shopping for gifts, cooking and more. It’s easy to get stressed and overwhelmed with it all if we’re not mindful. It’s also easy to overindulge – with drinking too much, overeating, over-shopping, etc. So how can you stay centered through this busy season (and beyond)?
There are so many self-care tips and tools I suggest to my clients, but I’m just going to share one of the most effective today – mindful eating. You see, the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. So the way that you eat correlates to everything else you do in your life. And since you’re most likely eating at least three times a day, mealtime is the perfect time to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the intentional, accepting and nonjudgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts, and sensations occurring in the present moment.
Who are you being when you eat? Are you moving at warp speed? Constantly eating on the go? Multi-tasking during the meal? Engaging in gossip? These are all ways in which we feed the stress response, which destroys our metabolism and creates digestive upset.
Stress is the opposite of relaxation. When do we feel stressed? Mostly when we are moving too fast. If you’ve worked for a stronger metabolism (or been trying to lose weight, etc.) but have not achieved success, there’s one basic reason – YOU ARE MOVING TOO FAST! When you’re moving through life too fast you inevitably eat fast, which destroys your metabolism and creates digestive upset. It results in meals eaten under a physiologic stress- response, which diminishes our calorie-burning power.
The slower you eat, the faster you metabolize. The more relaxed you are, the more energy you will have throughout the holiday hustle and bustle. So your task is to do something of great difficulty: slow down and relax!
Here are some suggestions for slowing down at mealtimes:
- If you usually eat breakfast in 5 minutes, take 10. If you normally take 10 minutes, take 15.
- Give yourself at least 30 minutes for lunch and dinner.
- As best you can, enroll your family, friends and co-workers, in creating more time and relaxation with meals.
- Find a clean quiet place to eat.
- Eliminate distractions – tv, radio, phones.
- Light a candle or play soft music.
- Pray or set an intention.
- Align your posture and take a few deep breaths.
- Put your utensil down in between bites.
- Continue to concentrate on chewing.
- Admire the visual qualities of your food, or close your eyes partially or fully.
- Stop eating when you’re 80% full so you’re satisfied but not stuffed.
- After eating say thanks.
- Sit and talk after your meal.
- Take a light stroll after your meal.
As you start to become more mindful at mealtimes, I guarantee you’ll also notice yourself being more present in all other areas of your life. I hope this info is helpful for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions and comments. Wishing you a beautiful December!