Holiday Self-Care pt. 1: Conscious Eating

Posted By on Nov 26, 2012 in Notes for the Family

Hello Families!

As we enter the first week of post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas holiday season, it seems like a good time to discuss conscious eating habits. The three funniest statements about Thanksgiving over-eating that I heard this weekend were:

1. I’m kind of here (at yoga practice) because I’m still in a food coma.
2. Me and my food baby are doing fine.
3. The doctor told me I have to stop eating.

The last one isn’t so funny because that person did have to go to the emergency room! “Just broth for the next few days.” The doctor really did say that.

The folks that made these comments did so in good humor. And I think we all relate to the sentiments. We laugh and joke about it because most of us know what it is like to overdo it on our eating.

Try this little memory exercise. Ask yourself, how many plates of food did I eat on Thanksgiving Day? Do I remember how many food dishes there were at my Thanksgiving celebration? How many times did I get up to eat on Thanksgiving Day?

Notice how you feel about your answers.

Besides the physical discomfort, who secretly dreads the holidays because of the weight gain? And here comes Christmas and New Years! There is no shortage of holiday parties at work and at home. There is an abundance of homemade delicacies, special meats, casseroles, stuffing, gravy, baked breads, and desserts!

Ask yourself, what is my plan for eating through the holidays? Am I going to overeat regularly over the next 6-7 weeks? Do I feel like I have a choice about what I’m going to do when all this food is before me? Does my willpower melt when I stand before a feast?

Conscious eating is a mindfulness practice. Conscious eating practices are intentional. These practices are based on behavioral management techniques like limit-setting. Techniques like portion control. Do not feel like you have to try everything your loving aunt or grandmother cooked. Limit your access to foods during all-day celebrations by going for a walk outside, periodically. Write out a plan every day of how you want to eat that day. At the end of the day, write down what you ate. How did you do? Are you feeling good about it today?

If you are very busy, then write a plan for the days you know there is going to be party. You will be amazed at how much this technique can help you stay mindful of your eating. And you will be so proud of yourself!

Conscious eating can be a powerful tool to help you avoid weight gain. This practice can help you avoid feeling physical discomfort and potential sickness. This practice can help you avoid the repetitious New Year’s Resolution to lose the weight you gained last year. It can also help you avoid feeling remorse, regret or dread about the holiday season and yourself. Developing behavioral management strategies can help you stay on track this holiday season.

Pay attention to your stress levels. If you are feeling stressed, try some counseling. Counseling can help you manage stress which tends to exacerbate overeating. And most of us adults know what it is like to overdo it on drinking too. If you feel like you need more support this holiday season with your stress and self-care, reach out for counseling through psychotherapy, nutritional counseling or a specific support group.

From, here are more good tips on conscious eating this holiday season:

Here’s to happy and self-loving holidays!



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