For the last several months I’ve been studying the concept of mindful eating. Recently, I was a guest blogger for a mindful eating website (www.eatq.com) so I have created a series of articles from my experience and offer these mindful eating tips for you.
Ahhhh….my old pal emotional eating….Like many folks, I eat when I’m happy, sad, bored, anxious, fearful…you name it – I’ll eat my emotions. Over the years, I’ve devised a plan to outsmart emotional eating. Here are a few tips and tricks that have helped me, and I hope they help you too as we enter a stressful and temptation-filled holiday season:
I pause when I find myself kitchen cupboard surfing, put my hand on my stomach and ask myself if I’m physically hungry, or emotionally hungry. If I’m not physically hungry (which, truly, is rare), I GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN, and distract myself. In my case, I always gulp a big glass of water and keep my hands busy by folding laundry, flipping through a magazine, reading a book, taking the dogs for a walk, calling a friend, etc. Generally this does the trick for me and the craving passes.
I have never been an evening muncher, but my health coaching clients often list this as a primary complaint. I encourage them to plan ahead and eat an enjoyable, satisfying evening snack then brush their teeth. I also recommend preparing a cup of hot water with fresh-squeezed lemon after dinner to cure the sweet-tooth longing (also great for your complexion, cleansing your liver and lymphatic system).
I recently read the book SHIFT, written by Tory Johnson (of Good Morning America Deals & Steals fame). It is a quick, easy read about her journey of significant weight loss and I found it appealing because I forget that, behind all the glitz and glam of morning television, she suffers with weight and self-image, just like the rest of us. In her book she describes a munchy night, and her cure became painting her fingernails. After all, she couldn’t reach into the bag of chips while her topcoat was drying. GENIUS!
Finally, one of my best tricks – especially with Thanksgiving coming up next week – is to place a piece of gum in your pocket, and when you feel satisfied, but tempted to keep refilling your plate (or snack all afternoon), pop the gum in your mouth to satisfy the need to nosh. Works. Every. Time.
Take action this week by making a plan to be prepared when emotions threaten your good eating intentions. To do this, make a list of 5’s: five ways to relax, five people to comfort you, five activities that provide soothing, and five places that are comforting. Refer back to this list and be ready to take action when emotional eating threatens to derail your wellness efforts. For greatest success this holiday season, remember to slow down, plan ahead, and make good decisions so you don’t gobble ‘til you wobble!
I am offering a free 21-day online Healthy Holiday Challenge. Enjoy receiving weekly e-mails with holiday tips and participate in a secret Facebook group as we tackle the topics of eating for energy, stress management and keeping your sanity through the holidays. Follow this link to sign-up: Healthy Holiday Challenge. The challenge begins on December 3rd.
Be well my friends. Remember to live in the moment and love yourself happy.
Sara Wolfsen is a Certified Health Coach who specializes in helping people make their own healthy changes by providing private health coaching, nutrition education and wellness classes, and gentle weight-loss guidance and support. Schedule your complimentary coaching session and learn more online at www.sarawolfsen.com.