With the holiday season comes holiday parties. Whether they are work-related, with family, or with friends, it seems that all holiday parties revolve around one thing; food.
Holidays tend to bring up feelings of anxiety and obsession towards food. We spend them eating Thanksgiving and Christmas treats, followed by planning our New Year’s resolutions (that most always involve dieting). Instead of over-indulging and consuming yourself in the latest fad diets, practice intuitive eating this holiday season! This way, you can start the new year with a healthy mind and body!
So what is intuitive eating anyway?
Intuitive eating is an evidence based practice of mindful eating habits that utilize both mind and body by listening to hunger, fullness, taste, and satiety cues (1,2). The practice of intuitive eating involves ditching yo-yo dieting, making peace with food, respecting your body’s hunger and feelings, as well as honoring your overall health (2). By listening and trusting in your body, intuitive eating can easily be practiced throughout your holiday season. Here are some ways you can incorporate intuitive eating into your holiday season!
- Reflect on your thoughts. Listen to what your body is asking for. Are you hungry? Thirsty? Bored? By listening to your body, you can decide whether or not your body needs energy versus whether you’re stressed and looking for comfort instead of calories (3,4).
- Enjoy the satisfaction. Think of other things instead of the food you are going to eat. The holiday season is full of family and friends! Focusing less on the calories and more on the memories is an easy way to look forward to holiday events rather than dread them (2).
- Be peaceful. Have no fear over food. Calories cannot be declared “good” and “bad”. Telling yourself that you cannot have specific foods may lead to overeating once uncontrollable cravings kick in. Instead, choose the food your body craves. By learning to ditch the emotion towards certain foods, you can be at peace with them (2,5)!
- Diversify your plate. Realize what your body needs. Make sure you reward it with adequate calories, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vegetables, and fruits. Ensuring your plate is full of color and flavor will provide your mind and body the satisfaction they need (4).
- Savor the flavors. Enjoy your food! Food is fuel – let your body experience the different textures, tastes, and flavors. If you see a new food you’ve never tried before, try it! Let your body experiment when it tell you it wants to. Give your brain a chance to catch up with your stomach by eating slowly (3).
- Respect yourself! When your body tells your brain that it’s full, stop eating. Learn how and when your body feels comfortably full. Pause during your meal and reflect on how the food tastes and how your body is starting to feel (2).
Intuitive eating takes practice, but practice makes perfect! Implementing these simple techniques in during your holiday parties will help you enjoy the fun and the food!
Brenna is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a passion for helping others find happiness through nutrition and health. She earned her Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition from Rush University Medical Center and her undergraduate degree in dietetics from Michigan State University. Brenna currently works for a meal delivery service where she spends days working with clients through virtual nutrition coaching, working on recipe creation and development, as well as marketing and communications. Brenna enjoys cooking, spending time with family and friends, browsing grocery stores, and doing CorePower Yoga. She created BWell, her social media platform, as a creative outlet to share nutrition tips, tricks, recipes, and other insight into healthy living. Be sure to follow her @bwellrdn on Instagram!
- Mathieu J. What should you know about mindful and intuitive eating? J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;107(12):1982-1987.
- Tribole E. What is intuitive eating? https://www.intuitiveeating.org/what-is-intuitive-eating-tribole/. Published September 12, 2018. Accessed December 12, 2018.
- American Heart Association. Make every bite a meditation. http://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/mental-health-and-wellbeing/mindful-eating-infographic. Published March 2018. Accessed December 12, 2018
- Krongberg S, Fierstein D. Incorporating intuitive eating in thanksgiving festivities. National Eating Disorder Association. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/incorporating-intuitive-eating-thanksgiving-festivities. Accessed December 12, 2018.
- Flores A. What does intuitive eating mean? National Eating Disorder Association. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/what-does-intuitive-eating-mean. Accessed December 13, 2018.