With Easter holidays just around the corner! Stores have been fully stocked with all the bunny-shaped chocolate you could imagine, while the bakery continues to pull hot cross buns from the oven. But for some people, the special food around the holidays can be a source of stress and anxiety. People become concerned about what will happen if they including these treat foods in their diets.
Some people choose to say no to those foods and replace it with foods they think they "should" be having instead. The problem with this restriction is it can leave us with foods buzzing around and around in our heads, becoming this ever present forbidden fruit. What tends to happen is we eat "should foods" until we eat he forbidden fruit anyway. We might have a salad, then an apple, then a yogurt, then a muesli bar and eventually we tend to have the chocolate or what ever we are stressing about any way. After we eat the bad food, that is when we might have overwhelming feelings of guilt, shame, and even regret. For some of us we might actually manage that stress through more eating or we might not be able to enjoy the rest of the day. Although we really like these foods this whole process can mean that we are left unable to gain any pleasure from the food because we might have these feelings of guilt and shame before we even eat it.
Rather then putting putting yourself through that process we propose eating foods that you enjoy and appreciating every mouthful through mindful eating. Through mindful eating you can eat the delicious food that you desire, stop when you feel full and satisfied, and enjoy the main reason for holiday gatherings: spending time with those you love.
Ways to Eat Mindfully This Easter
Before You Eat
Ask yourself these questions.
What do I currently feel like eating?
What are all the options I have to choose from?
What sounds good? What looks good?
Is there something different that I want to try?
Will it satisfy me?
Is there something that I know I love and enjoy?
Try to stay away from questions like “Do I deserve to have that piece of ______?”, or “I love ________ but do I really need the ______?”. You are never “bad” for eating any food and all foods can fit into a healthy diet regardless of your weight. Restriction of foods that you really want can often lead to overeating that food later so pick foods that you actually like, savor it, and move on with satisfied taste buds.
Trying the first bite
Do you find this food tasty and satisfying?
Is there something you don’t like about it?
Is there something else you would prefer?
Don’t feel pressured to eat something you know you're not going to enjoy, no one will be offended. Be realistic and remember that you can always have these foods any time that you like. Even if you only have them on Easter I'm sure that who ever prepared the food would only be too happy to make more for you or share their recipe. While you eat take the time to savor the smell, taste and texture of what you are eating. Try to eat slowly and notice what your senses are experiencing, even when dinner conversation may distract you.
When you are ready to stop
Listen to your body.
Maybe you got caught talking during the meal and ate past your fullness cue. This may happen around the holidays and that’s OK. Ideally, you should feel full (yet comfortable) and satisfied when you have finished. Mindfulness and understanding your hunger and fullness signals requires time and practice. After you have finished eating it is important that you eliminate negative self talk regarding food or weight, instead, see eating as a learning experience rather and pass/fail test.
If you are new to the idea of mindful eating and what it involves, the holidays are a great time to try it out, enjoy the special food stress-free and be present with those around you :)
If you have any questions make sure you get in touch, we are here to help.
xx Belinda & Martina