We all love work or family gatherings when there is a lot of tasty food. And who doesn’t like going out for dinner or ordering some take-out food once in a while? I know I do, and when hunger is pinging you it is hard to turn down more than you plan and need to eat.
Just so you know, even as a reasonably strict eater, I still do enjoy splurges once in a while, and what better time to enjoy it than in the company of others who relish in it too. But when you headed toward some weight loss goals or just trying to be more disciplined when you eat this can get tricky. If you are someone who easily gets out of control without quickly getting back on track you will have to exercise discipline in any environment.
So here I go with 5 helpful tips to be a mindful eater in any situation:
Tip #1: Choose smaller portions
If you don’t want to miss out on certain foods during an occasion, take a tiny portion of each. Think of each portion as the size of as 2 small appetizers on your plate. You shouldn’t be building your plate up and finish it all only because you don’t want to waste what you took. Eat each portion slowly, admiring the textures and flavors before swallowing.
Tip #2: Choose healthier foods first
Eat veggies and lean meat first, then start on your darker carbs that take a bit longer to digest. Try not to choose white refined carbs like white rice, bread, white potatoes or foods (and beverages) sweetened with honey, sugar, or syrups
Tip #3: Don’t drown your food
If there is gravy, sauces, or salad dressing, try not to add more than you need. Just enough to add flavor, and be over it. These additions add surprisingly more calories that your body doesn’t use. Olive oil and vinegar, hot sauces, mustards, tomato sauces, and other low-calorie blends are better choices if you have to add anything.
Tip #4: Stop when you are full
If you went overboard filling your plate, do not feel obligated to finish it. You can save the excess and enjoy it later on. The worst thing about overeating is feeling tired and bloated. When we eat more than our bodies can process, your digestive system gets bogged down and your blood sugar spikes which causes you to feel less energy. Also your body stores excess calories in your fat cells…yikes.
Tip #5: Give thanks
Always show gratitude for your food! Appreciate how food nurtures your body. Think about how good it tastes and how blessed you are to have this moment and experience. Consider also the people who provided it, prepared it, grew it, picked it, etc. Give compliments if you enjoyed the food. The cells in your body are responding to what you feed them. This includes good or bad thoughts. If you enjoyed your food but went overboard, don’t go throw it up or feel guilty about it. Remind yourself of how you want to feel by making better choices next time. Learn from it and get back on track.
Once in a while this is going to happen. So here are more tips on how to prepare and respond for the occasional splurge:
Work out the day you plan to eat and the day after.
Go for a walk after eating rather than laying down.
If you have to have dessert, wait to decide until after you have digested your meal. If you have it, eat a couple of bites, then put the rest away. It isn’t life or death to eat it all right away, so don’t force yourself to eat it just because everyone else is. Plus you have a treat waiting for you later to enjoy…yay!
Don’t be hard on yourself, or punish yourself for enjoying your favorite food once in a while. Just be mindful that healthy food and portion sizes helps your body operate at it’s optimum. This is a reward for your body, give you energy and replenishment so you can move through each and every day. Try not to fall prey to “comfort food” as a fleeting reward to satisfy your brain chemicals. These habits can become hard to break. Change your mindset toward food, and you will think twice about what you are doing.