Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas cookies, and New Year parties, sounds like fun, but this is also a challenging time of year. Weight gain can happen because of the overabundance of food, candy, drinks and snacks that occur with these festivities. We want the focus to be on spending time with family and friends, however keeping mindful of what and why we are eating may help ease the holiday weight gain.
How Can You Eat More Mindfully?
First, before you eat, whether it is at a party or at home, think about "why am I eating." While we eat because we are hungry, there are many other reasons we eat. Boredom, stress, or even because everyone else is eating. Try only to eat when you are truly hungry.
Take time with your meals by sitting down and avoiding distractions when eating. Turn off the TV and avoid being on a computer, tablet or phone while eating. If you're at a party, try to make sure you don’t end up standing and eating, as you will likely eat faster and less mindfully. Try setting down your fork, spoon, knife between bites and chew every bite well, noticing the different smells, flavors and textures.
Assess for fullness and stop as soon as you feel satisfied. By taking time with your meals and chewing well it gives your body time to realize when it is full. This can help decrease portions and the amount of food we take in, yet still feel satisfied.
You can apply these techniques to anything…including that piece of pumpkin pie.
How Can I Avoid Overeating At A Holiday Party?
Planning before the party can go a long way in avoiding overeating at a celebration.
- Offer to bring a dish to the party. This way, some of the food will be in your control. You can modify a recipe to make it healthier or bring fresh chopped vegetables with low fat dip, low fat cheese with whole wheat crackers, a salad with dressing on the side or shrimp cocktail.
- Don’t come to a party starving. When we attend parties we often don’t have control of what food is being served. If we try to save up our calories and skip lunch in anticipation of saving calories for dinner, we may overeat in excess at the next meal. Try eating a small, healthy snack before going to the party, such as hummus and vegetables or an apple with low fat string cheese.
At the party, follow these tips to enjoy yourself without overeating:
- Scan the buffet of food. Try to find your top 2 or 3 picks. Stick to smaller portions of foods that may be less healthy, like creamy dips, fried foods, sweets and larger portions of the fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
- Try not to "hang out" near the food. The more we are around the food, the more likely we may eat without even thinking about it. Try to find a spot to socialize where the food isn't located to help decrease mindless eating.
- Find time for self-care. While the holidays are a fun family time, stress sometimes finds its way into our life around this time too. As we are overloaded with responsibilities during this time of year, make sure to take time for you. Taking a brisk 15-30 minute walk, can not only help with weight gain, but can help with your stress levels as well!
Eating mindfully can also help decrease stress eating and help prevent weight gain around the holidays.
Have a great holiday season!
Kristal Twardy is a Registered, Certified Dietitian with Franciscan WELLCARE. She has more than 14 years of experience in dietetics and healthcare. Kristal believes wellness is having a balanced lifestyle, is multifaceted, and includes not just pursuing a healthy diet and regular physical activity, but making choices towards a happy, fulfilling life.
By Kristal Twardy
Registered, Certified Dietitian, Franciscan WELLCARE