Here we are, deep into yet another holiday season. Along with the joy of the season, often comes the stress of the season. The stress of the season can bring on stress eating. The holidays are traditionally a challenging time to remain focused on health goals. When the stress of the approaching holiday season really settles in, it may seem as though your mind turns against you and essentially gives you a free pass to eat whatever you want for the next two months. The reasoning your mind gives you to rationalize this stress eating is, I will start over the in the new year. Do you relate to this internal struggle? If so, how do you stay true to your desire of having a peaceful relationship with food?
Knowing that the stress of the holidays will be there, here are three mindful strategies to help you avoid the stress eating rollercoaster this holiday season:
Strategy #1: Change your perspective on food
When you are faced with making a choice, for example, a coworker brings in holiday cookies, ask yourself: Does this choice align with my health goals?
If the answer is no, it allows you to make a choice that is empowered, rather than guilt ridden, or from a space of feeling deprived. Changing your perspective on your choices can create a healthier mentality by saying YES to your health goals.
Strategy #2: Fill your plate with vegetables
With so many dietary theories out there, it can be confusing to know what actually creates a healthy diet. The area that there is rarely any dispute within the nutrition and wellness community is that vegetables are good for you. When making a selection at a holiday party or at the holiday table, fill your plate with vegetables first. This will leave less space both on your plate and in your stomach for other less nutrient dense foods.
Strategy #3: Be mindful of your hunger and full sensations
Generally, you want to eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you are about just beginning to feel full. This can be difficult to assess, especially in social situations, or when enticing food is available everywhere. Even if you filled up on vegetables, that does not mean that you won’t want to try the dessert, possibly putting you into a position of mindlessly overeating. However, when you are eating mindfully, and truly being present with your food it will be more comfortable to pause between bites and check in with your physical body. You will be more able to notice the impact your food is having on you mentally, physically and emotionally. When eating mindfully you are given an opportunity to make a choice based on how you want to feel. Listening to your body and eating in a mindful manner, eating when hungry, stopping when full, will help you stay true to your health goals at all times.