Discover your holiday sensibilities

by Dr. Ellen Cullman, FLT Columnist

Many people experience anxiety around food especially during the holiday season. Let’s say you’ve been doing very well with maintaining a recent weight loss. But when you think about sitting down at grandmother’s Thanksgiving table, you feel as if you are marching into a battle with your favorite foods. Or perhaps you are doing well changing your eating habits to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels. But lurking in the back of your mind is January’s medical checkup. The best celebrations include enjoying your favorite foods with family and friends. Missing out is not an option. So how do you handle the presence of all the food and not overdo it?

Mindful eating, not being a diet, enables you to eat what you love yet maintain your sensibilities about it. So, get real and drop the diet. If there is any place you won’t stay on your diet it is at grandma’s table so don’t try. Instead tap into your sensibilities.

Begin by spending a few minutes alone before you sit down to eat. This is your private, reflective pause before the meal to get your wits about you. During this time notice your intentions about eating. You might feel like devouring everything. Simply stay with these thoughts and see if you have healthy intentions, too. You wouldn’t be spending this time alone if you didn’t.

The trick is to remain mindful of both intentions – wanting to eat everything and wanting to be healthy. Obviously you can’t do both, so ask yourself “How will I handle this conflict?” and come up with a plan. Unfortunately, I can’t provide your plan because it must be yours, but here are a few considerations as you continue your private pause:

1.  How hungry are you and how do you want to feel afterwards?

2.  How do you see yourself eating – mindlessly fast or deliberately slow?

3.  How do you want to maintain your eating awareness, yet relate to others?

4.  Are your favorite foods as good as you expected and worth eating more?

5.  Must you clean your plate even if you are full?

You don’t have to wait until the big meal to put your sensibilities into practice. Start today quietly planning, imagining and tweaking your strategies to practice at each meal. On the big day choose your private pause as your appetizer.

See more of Dr. Cullman’s columns and visit Email or call 419-494-7699 to schedule an individual session. Register for the next Mindful Eating Group Workshop starting on January 16. Contact Dr. Cullman about presentations, seminars and personalized retreats.