Is the concept of mindful eating during the holidays nothing more than a catchy slogan to market psychological advice or might this approach actually provide the results that you have been looking for? As the Christmas season is fast approaching, many of us are (rightfully) concerned about the possibility of gaining a substantial amount of weight.
This is when a bit of mental fortitude can certainly come in handy. In order to fully appreciate conscious consumption, it is first wise to examine the notion of mindfulness in general. We can then move on to discuss a handful of relevant points.
What Exactly is "Mindfulness"?
This concept was initially popularised by author and spiritualist Eckhart Tolle. The primary principle involves becoming immersed in the moment and learning to appreciate life as it happens. Practitioners claim that such a perspective can help to alleviate depression, anxiety and other forms of negative thinking that might otherwise have a profound impact upon the physical body.
So, how are mindfulness and eating related? Although this is somewhat of an esoteric concept, we can still form a basic definition. Mindful holiday eating is concerned with the experience of consuming food. Appreciating flavours, colours and textures are all relevant here. This is in direct contrast to the decidedly western habit of simply inhaling whatever happens to be presented upon a plate.
How Can You Practice Mindful Eating During the Holidays?
This is actually easier said than done, as the chances are high that you will be surrounded by others who are simply interested in the meals themselves. One of the best ways to begin is to become accustomed to consuming food at a slower pace. This will enable you to enjoy the taste of specific items and it is also healthy for the digestive system.
Another useful suggestion involves simple portion control. It can be very tempting to “load up” with a variety of tasty treats; some of which you rarely consume throughout the year. The body may find it difficult to adapt to such a sudden change and as a result, you might gain weight at a faster pace. Control the size of the portions chosen and if possible, select a smaller plate in order to limit the amount that can be taken at any given time.
Experts in mindful eating likewise stress that you should listen to your body as opposed to your cravings. While sugary food may be tasty, it will often result in an upset stomach. Fatty foods are likewise tempting and yet, your waistline could suffer in the long run. This is when a modicum of discipline over the holiday season is crucial.
Beyond Mindfulness: Additional Strategies to Adopt
Mindful eating is a skill and it can be challenging to learn within only a handful of weeks. This is why some other approaches should be used in tandem with mental awareness. For example, try to eat food good for the brain. Brain-friendly foods will provide a heightened sense of alertness, a natural source of energy and they might even result in a calming effect. Some healthy examples include:
- The vast majority of nuts and seeds.
- Blueberries, cherries and raspberries.
- Dark leafy greens (such as spinach and broccoli).
The energy provided by these options will also enable you to exercise on a regular basis; yet another way to keep those pesky kilos at bay during the Christmas season.
All Work and No Play
Note that mindfulness should never be associated with a strict form of mental discipline. It is simply a means to appreciate the moment and in terms of eating, to view meals as an enjoyable experience as opposed to solely a means to satiate your appetite.
We should also highlight that mindfulness alone might not be able to provide the results that you have been searching for. This is even more relevant during the holidays when it can be difficult to turn down a tasty plate of calorie-laden delights. A growing number of individuals are therefore choosing to leverage the power of modern medicine.
For example, the Spatz3 adjustable gastric balloon will limit how much food you eat and unlike other gastric devices, it can be customised depending upon your goals. When used in tandem with mindful eating during the holidays, you can enjoy all that this special season has in store while learning a new appreciation for the food on your plate!