How to Finally Get Mindful About Eating

No, you don’t have to sip broth while everyone around you feasts in order to avoid the typical holiday weight gain. You just have to be mindful about your choices. And by mindful, I mean pay attention.

 Because awareness is always the first step in doing things differently. First, it gives you a chance to realize what you’re about to do—so you don’t scarf five cookies before you even know what happened. And second: it’s a scientific principle that the very act of observing something changes the outcome.

More ways to Maintain Your Weight this Week:

Here are the five things to keep your eye on this holiday season so that you Maintain, Don’t Gain.

  • What are your triggers?

In what situations do you typically overeat? Is it parties? At night after the kids are in bed? In the afternoon when you’re poking around the office kitchen looking for treats? Start here.

From there, look at the conditions behind the situation. Are you tipsy at the parties? Stressed at night because you haven’t had a moment to yourself all day? Tired in the afternoons? Once you know what your triggers are, you can treat the source of those conditions—only have one glass of wine, or take 10 minutes to do a guided meditation before you head in to the kitchen, or get in bed even 15 minutes earlier so that you don’t have a big crash the next afternoon.

  •  Take a broader perspective

It is the holiday season—indulgences are going to be part of it. Admitting that can help ward off that feeling of, “I overate last night, it’s all over, pass the chips.”

Zoom out your lens a bit and think of balancing your intake out over the course of a couple of days instead of focusing on every single meal. If you know you’re going to have a high-intake day—say, Thanksgiving Day—plan for a day of light eating and a decent amount of movement the next day.

  • Think differently

Take a look at the thoughts that come before you eat. Because when you can change what runs through your mind, you’ll also change what ends up in your mouth.

When you roll up to a holiday party and see all the goodies on display, are you thinking, This is the only chance I have to drink eggnog all year. Or, Free food, better fill up!!

Be brave and willing enough to really see what excuses or justifications your lizard brain is serving up. Then you can ask if those thoughts are true. Do you really need to eat food you’re potentially not even hungry for just because it’s free?

  • Take a moment

It only takes a few seconds to stop, take a breath, and ask yourself, What am I truly hungry for? The hardest part, honestly, is simply remembering to check in. You may hear that you really want the hot cocoa with whipped cream and peppermint Schnapps, and that’s great. But you may realize that really want you want is 15 minutes to lie down.

  •  Don’t wait for miracles

It’s so tempting to think, “Maybe this year the extra pounds won’t find me.” But that is wishful thinking.

Instead, be honest with yourself. (And the fact that you’re reading this and participating in our Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge tells me that this is going to be easy for you.) Every time you try saying, “It’s the holidays, whaddareyagonnado?” take it as a reminder to make time for an Acacia TV workout video, or to pick up a couple of healthy snacks on your next trip to the grocery store. Empower yourself by embracing reality.

Come back next week for more great strategies for maintaining your weight through the holidays. Let us know how you’re doing – post, like, gram or pin us with your progress! And here’s a link to the rest of the challenge.