Avoid overindulgence: A guide to mindful eating during the holidays
KINGSTON, Jamaica – It’s the festive season—a time for indulgence and fun. With parties, gifts, and food galore, it’s easy to get caught up in the celebratory feasts, causing us to lose track of the healthy eating habits maintained throughout the year.
With this in mind, Observer Online has compiled a list of things to do to ensure that all the effort put into living a healthy life this year does not go to waste.
1. Sit to eat – It’s no secret that when grazing the holiday buffet while chatting with loved ones, it is easy to lose track of how much you have eaten. Therefore, it’s best to collect your plate of food and sit, so you don’t run the risk of battling guilt after overeating.
2. Focus on sensory cues – With all the flashing lights and dazzling food, your senses can easily become overloaded during this time of the year. Taking the time to focus on the scent, taste, texture, and even the temperature of the food can help deal with the excitement of the holiday, practising mindful eating.
3. Stick to a schedule – To avoid overeating, it is best to stick to a schedule. Don’t skip meals and try to avoid going more than four hours without eating, as going too long without eating may increase the likelihood of mindless eating at holiday events.
4. Set an alarm – Another way to prevent overindulging during the holiday is practising mindfulness throughout the day, setting the stage for mindful eating during mealtimes. To help with this, set a reminder on your smartphone a few times a day. When it goes off, pause for 30 seconds to recognise what’s going on in your body. If you need to stretch, move around, or even eat, do so. Taking care of these needs can help you sidestep the mindless eating we sometimes do for comfort.
5. Slow down – It can take time for the stomach to send the message to your brain that you are full. If you eat too quickly, you might miss that cue. Therefore, it is best to eat slowly to stay in tune with your level of fullness. A big part of eating mindfully is appreciating your favourite dishes. When that ham is on your plate and you can’t wait to dig in, take a breath and savour every bite.
6. Choose your drinks wisely – While sorrel is a staple for every Christmas dinner in Jamaica, alcoholic beverages are also always present at the table. Be wary because alcoholic drinks, such as champagne, can cause gas build-up and bloating.
7. Keep hydrated – With all the eating and drinking, hydration is often the last thing we’re thinking about. Despite this, water is a great way to flush out toxins and support the liver in processing all the Christmas treats. Remember to stay hydrated so you don’t run the risk of ending up in the hospital due to dehydration.