Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Trick or Treat? mindful eating tips for halloween & beyond...

Bless your food.
Only two days left until Halloween... and the annual Holiday Sugar Fest begins! Candy, pies and cookies? There's no shortage this time of year. Even the bank and post office provide handouts. If there's a baker at your place of work, you're in real trouble.

It is not uncommon to gain five pounds or more in the two months leading up to New Years, a magical day when willpower suddenly resurfaces and resolutions come easy. (It's no coincidence that January is the most popular month of the year for health club memberships and visits to the nutritionist.)

If you've ever fallen into the sugar trap and want to avoid it this year, now is the perfect time to set your health intentions for the holiday season. Don't wait! Make up your mind to stay on your healthy food plan and build in some customized wiggle room so you can't fail.

Wiggle room means planning your food and fitness program around the parties and holiday meals you know are coming. Take it one week at a time. Develop a strategy for negotiating the break room. Make exercise non-negotiable. And be sure to bring healthy snacks with you (think sliced apples and almonds, or fresh veggies and a chunk of raw goat cheese) before you leave the house for the day. Don't get caught empty handed at the Mall, where the evil twins, Cinnabon and Mochaccino, lie in wait to tempt you.

It's okay to treat yourself to sweets, just don't let them trick you. Share dessert, opt for high quality dark chocolate, cut back early in the day if you know pie is coming at night. And when you do indulge, do it mindfully.

Slowing down and paying attention to your food is the best way to enjoy your meal and avoid overeating.  To help you get started, try these mindful eating tips, inspired by wellness coach Nadya Andreeva.

Take three deep breaths before you take your first bite. This helps shift you out of "rushing" mode and into a more peaceful state of mind. Say grace. Bless your food.

Eat with elegance and bring a sense of ceremony to mealtimes. Sit up straight. Pretend you are at a fancy restaurant on a first date. Take your time, put your fork down between bites and enjoy the company, even if it's just yourself.

Give your food your full attention. Avoid multi-tasking during meals. Instead, focus on what's really going on in the moment: the presentation, smell and taste of your food. Fully experience the pleasant sensations in your eating organs: fingers, lips, tongue, throat.

Mindful eating is an especially helpful technique to apply when eating sweets, because the addictive, biochemical response to sugar urges you to just start cramming it in as fast as you can. Mindfulness will help you to eat with more control, to feel satisfied with less food and to create a more trusting relationship with your own body.

Trick or treat? It's up to you.

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