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Mindful Eating Tips for Christmas Day

Want to know how you can enjoy Christmas Day treats, without making yourself feel horrendous?

 

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by Bexx Hillman in Health

Yay. With two days to go, I’m finally heading back to Lancashire for some much needed family time. I’m so excited to see them all! I’m also looking forward to my Mum’s epic Christmas dinner and famous trifle – as well as my MILTB’s incredible Christmas cake. (MILTB = Mother-in-Law-To-Be)

I always think Christmas shows how far I’ve come with food. It used to be about two things: binging and guilt. Now, I enjoy all the tasty treats the season has to offer. I don’t really go overboard, or beating myself up about it.

I’m not telling you this to be smug. I know a lot of you still struggle to find that balance, especially at this time of year. But I want you to know that it is possible – and you don’t have to spend the next few days feeling like crap.

Here are some last minute tips to help you out:

1. Slow Down and Appreciate

That box of chocolates won’t spontaneously combust if you don’t eat them all right away. When you eat fast, you’re not giving yourself time to think about the food you’re eating. This makes it almost impossible to eat mindfully.

Give yourself time to think about and, most importantly, enjoy your food. This applies to healthy food too, not just the indulgent stuff. Chew it, appreciate it – and enjoy it!

When you slow down, you’re more likely to notice when you’re full – or when you’re just not enjoying it anymore.

This is your cue to stop.

Make it your mission to savour and enjoy every mouthful of food this Christmas.

2. Stick to What You Love

Something I can still find difficult are the sugar cravings. I tend to eat way more sugar at Christmas, compared to any other time of year. This means my body adapts, and will send me regular reminders to top up my sugar levels – in the form of cravings.

If this happens to you, remember this: you don’t have to eat ALL the things, just because they’re there.

When you indulge in a Christmas treat, stick to the ones you REALLY love. You know, the ones you look forward to all year – or get excited to see back in the shops in December.

For me, this means:

  • My Mum’s trifle,
  • Mince pies,
  • MILTB’s Christmas cake.

I know I’m going to really enjoy and appreciate these when they make an appearance.

But I’m not really bothered about stollen, other Christmas cake, or anything you’ll find in a box of Quality Street (since they got rid of the Toffee Deluxe). When these foods pop up, I’ll be more mindful about whether I actually want to eat them. This doesn’t mean I’ll always say no – but I do think about it more.

What are your favourite Christmas treats? What are the ones you find yourself eating mindlessly, even though you don’t love them?

3. Get Curious, Not Judgemental

If nothing else, use the next few days as a fact finding mission. You’re bound to indulge more than usual – so pay attention to how it affects your body.

Take note of the energy crashes, how you feel when you wake up – and your mood in general. Are you snapping more at your loved ones? Does your skin breakout? Do certain foods make you feel worse than others?

All this can tell us a lot about how our body responds to different food groups. Paying attention to this is essential when it comes to creating a healthy diet that works for you.

4. Do What Makes You Feel Good

Instead of thinking too hard about what you should be doing, start paying attention to how you feel.

This is a subtle mindset shift, but it can make a huge difference. If you feel crap because you’ve eaten too much sugar, aim to create more balance instead of beating yourself up about it.

Come up with a list of quick and simple things you can do when this feeling hits. Drink a big glass of water, eat some vegetables, go for a walk or take a nap… You don’t have to make it more complicated than this!

5. Don’t Write Yourself Off

Do you ever give up your healthy habits completely, with a promise to ‘start again in January’? This used to be me.

The constant guilt left me feeling like a failure, and it felt easier to forget about it altogether. But just because you’re indulging more than usual, it doesn’t mean you can’t be healthy in between.

If you find the guilt creeping in, don’t let it take over. Distract your mind by doing something that makes you feel good – and focus on those positive vibes.

Being mindful is about uncovering your automatic (often negative) thoughts, and replacing them with something more constructive. Make a conscious decision about how you want to feel on Christmas Day, then do whatever you can to make it happen

6. Let It Go

Despite best efforts, there’s a chance we might eat way more sugar than we intended, or lose sight of these mindful eating principles.

If this does happen, let it go.

You can’t change something when it’s happened. By focusing on it, you’re just going to make the rest of the day feel a bit shit.

Let it go, and move on. Think about how you can bring more balance to the situation – and make a healthy choice for your next meal or snack. Not to punish yourself, but to make you feel your best.

Remember: it’s just one day. You have 364 more of them before next Christmas – with plenty of chances to make healthy choices that nourish your body.

 

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Start making changes to get healthier and happier, without ditching pizza or chocolate.

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