Ok, so the holidays are creeping up, the food is going to be everywhere. I can still remember the feeling of eating so much food that I felt like I was going to pop and then feeling bad about it afterwards. I can also remember years where I promised myself I was going to do better and not eat too much and basically dieted my way through the holidays…that was no fun either. These days, I’ve found some much better approaches to maintaining my weight, which I’ve done for several years now with no struggle at all. These days I have learned to truly enjoy my food, enjoy the holidays, really take the time to appreciate what is before me. I know that a big part of obesity for me was not fully enjoying or engaging in life. Food or any other thing I would have abused or overused were just fillers but they could never fill the void. So what exactly am I suggesting to do? Try this:
1. Really take the time to appreciate all of the hardwork that has been put into special meals, from the person who grew the food to the person who shipped it to to person who prepared it. It was all done for you to enjoy this moment right now. Take a moment to soak that in.
2. Take the time to fully chew and taste all the different textures and tastes and smells that come with a great meal. Often I would scarf down a meal without really even fully enjoying how delicious it really was. Remember, food is not the enemy here. Food is as necessary as oxygen to live.
3. Be sure to take notice of the presentation of your delicious meal. Notice all the colors and how everything comes together so nicely. Notice the plates and silverware and table settings. This is all part of a wonderful experience.
4. Eat a little slower than usual. This will not only help you appreciate what you’re eating, but you will inevitably eat less. Speed eating was one of the main culprits of my obesity.
5. Put the veggies on your plate first. Even the federal government’s new food plate suggest that half our plate be covered with veggies. Certainly we can keep up with the government’s regs, can’t we?
6. Take a walk or take part in some kind of physical activity before you eat. This will not only help burn off some excess calories, but much more importantly, sends a more important message to yourself that even though you may partaking in a feast, exercise and your health are still very important to you. (i.e. just because we’re eating, we’re not throwing everything out the window)
7. Set your intention about how you want your day to go, what you want to eat and how much before you start piling it on. I swear over 50% of success in anything is starting at the beginning with a clear understanding of how you would like it to end.
8. Visualize the food feeding and nourishing your body. When you can truly start to see food as a positive, necessary and beneficial aspect of your life, you will have developed a much better and healthier relationship with food. It starts with visualizing.
9. Take a walk after you eat. Get that blood flowing and food moving through your body. Again, we’re sending the right message to your mind and body.
10. Most importantly, take the time to really enjoy the positive aspects of the wonderful people who you are with. That is really what it is all about.
You see, in my experience, it’s really not just about how much you eat at one given meal or what you eat, though all of those little decisions do add up over time. What I’ve realized is that it is quite often more about how you feel about what you eat and what you associate with the eating and as a result how you behave after. I used to overeat and then feel guilty and then overeat again and then diet and rinse and repeat, you get the idea. It was a downward spiral. Our weight gain or success is never about one incident, it’s about many incidents and how we feel about them before, during and after. Work on feeling better and adding, always adding, positive habits and you will slowly but surely work your way to a better place where you don’t have to think about all of this so much. It will become automatic. That’s how it works when you really get something down pat.
There you have it…now don’t forget to enjoy all you do!
Traveling for the holidays? Here’s some great travel tips.