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We’ve all been there. It’s the holiday season, you get to your office, a neighborhood gathering, or a family party, and you’re faced with what seems like a mountain of cookies. Before you know it, you’ve eaten three, shoved a few in your coat pockets for later, and you’re on to the cheese plate (or is that just me?).
It’s easy to get wrapped up in mindless eating on any given day, but it is especially easy around the holidays. The tastes, smells, and excitement (or stress) of the holidays can render us susceptible to over-eating, but incorporating some mindful eating practices can go a long way. Mindfulness is simply paying attention, and we can all do that, right? Try this:

– When having a treat, take your time eating it. Chew slowly, savor every bite, and really taste the food. Not only does this make it last longer, you are more satisfied with a smaller portion.

– Listen to your body and stop eating before you reach the button-popping discomfort of being too full. 80% full is ideal, and eating slowly will help you “hear” your body’s signals.

– Think about what you want to eat during the weeks leading up to the holidays. Having a plan to follow can help us avoid filling our plates with things we don’t want and leaves room for the indulgences we’re really looking forward to. A plan can include: drinking a glass of water before a party, eating a plate full of veggies as your first course, and then reaching for your favorite holiday indulgence. Or foregoing the holiday M&M’s at the office so you can have egg nog with dinner.

– Observe your mood before eating. When we eat based on emotions, we tend to eat more than we need or want. If you’re feeling stressed, sad, or anxious, try some relaxation techniques before reaching for food. Exercise, deep-breathing, meditation, or being in nature can help make us feel better.

Which mindfulness tip do you plan to try over the holidays?