Translate

Gadget

This content is not yet available over encrypted connections.
power by WikipediaMindmap

Gadget

This content is not yet available over encrypted connections.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mindful Eating During the Holidays

The holiday season can be a challenging time for managing stress and overeating. In this blog post, I'll be focusing on how to eat mindfully and avoid overeating.

Why Do We Overeat During the Holidays?
One of the reasons that we tend to overeat during the holidays is that there's so often much more food around us during this time. If we work in an office, there are office parties with cakes, cookies, chips and many other types of high caloric foods. Family gatherings also have many of the same types of calorie-laden foods. It's so easy to fill up our plates and gorge ourselves on heaps of food without even realizing.

Mindful Eating, Instead of Overeating, During the Holidays

Whether we're stuffing ourselves out of anxiety, loneliness or other uncomfortable emotions or we're distracted by our conversations with others, it's very easy to overeat without realizing it. Considering that we can often attend several parties, dinners or other social gatherings over the holidays, we can end up gaining a lot of weight around the holidays.

So what's the answer? Should we avoid all social gatherings until the holidays are over? Should we starve ourselves and avoid eating until the holidays are over? Clearly, these aren't practical strategies. So what should we do? One viable strategy is to eat mindfully.

What is "Mindful Eating"?
What do we mean by "mindful eating"? Well, mindful eating means eating with awareness. Rather than being distracted while we eat or zoned out, we deliberately choose what and how much we're eating and thoroughly enjoy it. Rather than completely depriving ourselves, which often leads to overeating when we feel too deprived, we carefully choose our food, appreciating the color, texture, aroma, and all the other sensual aspects of the food. When we place the food in our mouths, we enjoy the taste and feel of the food, slowing down to thoroughly appreciate everything about it.

Beware of "Trigger" Foods
If there are certain "trigger" foods that we know will lead to our overeating, we make conscious choices about these foods. So, for one person, having one potato chip often leads to eating 50. To another person, having one piece of chocolate could mean eating half a box. We have to be honest with ourselves and aware of our eating patterns. If we know that we tend to overeat certain foods and we're more vulnerable to do so over the holidays, we might decide to avoid those foods and substitute others in their place.

Remember the Meaning of the Holidays
The other factor to keep in mind is that the holidays are about more than food and overeating. If we're fortunate, the holidays are about getting together with loved ones, remembering those who are less fortunate than ourselves and the spiritual significance of the holidays if that's meaningful to you.

So, rather than focusing on food, it's more meaningful to focus on the meaning of the particular holiday. Even if you're alone for the holidays and you're not part of an organized religion, you can have a meaningful experience for yourself and make the holiday brighter for others by volunteering your time over the holidays.

This could mean joining a carolling group at a local hospital, serving food at a local homeless drop-in center, visiting a home bound elderly neighbor, or countless other volunteer activities that are available to you over the holidays and throughout the year. Participating in any of these activities has the potential to expand ourawareness of the meaning of the holidays.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR therapist and Somatic Experiencing therapist. As part of my therapeutic work with individuals and couples, I use mindfulness techniques.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.