With the holidays just around the corner, the question on everyone’s mind is “What is for dinner?” Loading up your plate does not have to equal loading on pounds. Mindful eating and knowing when you are full can help prevent weight gain around the holiday season.
What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating begins with the foods you eat and drink. Dr. Cheung author of the book, Savor Mindful Eating, Mindful Life, describes mindful eating as a full appreciation of the sensory factors of the foods you eat and drink. During the holidays, using mindful eating can help fend off weight gain. Begin noticing colors, smells, flavors, and textures of the food you eat during the holidays. Take your time with what you eat, and leave a little white space on the plate when served.
What Are the Holidays About?
The holidays are a time for family and friends, so turn off the TV when it is time for dinner; focus on family and the food in front of you. During the holidays, food seems to be everywhere, from sweets to rich family-tradition casseroles, temptation seems to be everywhere, but the following tips can help.
Before the Meal:
- Do not skip meals prior to the main dinner course
- Skipping meals may result in over consuming during dinner
- Make sure to eat breakfast, on the same day as the big meal
- Consume a breakfast high in fiber to help keep you full longer
During the Meal:
- If filling your whole plate is tempting, then use a smaller plate
- Filling a smaller plate will look voluminous; try to stop at one plate
- When it comes to the line-up of food, go for the salad and vegetables first, after these two items are taking up room on your plate, you will have already completed the first step of putting together a healthy plate.
- Savor the foods you are eating, if you plan to go back for another helping, wait about ten minutes and sip on some water; you may not be as hungry as you think.
After the Meal:
- Go for a walk around the block with a family member, or take the kids to the park to play catch.
Setting the goal, when are you truly full?
After following these tips, it is important to have reminders to fend off weight gain, and knowing how to gauge your fullness can be that little reminder. The goal in the following chart is to stay within areas 7 to 3. Once you are able to achieve this status, you are on a smart and healthy way to fighting back that holiday weight gain!
10 = Uncomfortably full or “sick” – “Thanksgiving full”
9 = Stuffed and uncomfortable
8 = Too full, somewhat uncomfortable
7 = Full, but not yet uncomfortable – hunger is gone
6 = Filling up, but still comfortable – could definitely eat more
5 = Neutral – neither hungry nor full
4 = Slightly hungry, mild signals that your body needs food – you can wait to eat
3 = Hungry, not yet uncomfortable – clear signals that your body needs food
2 = Very hungry, irritable, or anxious – you want to eat everything in sight
1 = Starving, feeling weak, lightheaded, dizzy or other extremely uncomfortable symptoms of hunger
Work cited: http://www.move.va.gov/
Article by Raelynn Sampson, UWGB Dietetic Intern