Practicing Mindfulness This Holiday Season



By Amber Worthen, RD, LDN, NASM-CPT

Family gatherings, work parties, buying gifts, and endless holiday cookies. It can be difficult to stay on track with your nutrition goals throughout the holiday season, which is why it’s beneficial for you to have a plan, and stick to it!

Know What Your Triggers Are

Being able to identify what throws you off of your routine will be the first and most important step in being mindful throughout the holidays. If work and life get busier during this season, make a plan!

Time: Carve out an hour every weekend to prepare meals that will last you throughout most of the week. This will eliminate needing to buy food out, which can often tempt people to purchase the more on the go items rather than wholesome food. This goes for exercise as well; schedule your workouts, treat it like a doctor’s appointment that can’t be missed!

Stress: The stress of the holidays can be an overall trigger for avoiding exercise, eating more sweets, and consuming larger portions than our bodies need. Not to mention, the endless holiday treats lying around the office. While it’s okay to indulge once in a while, having two full months of indulgence won’t make you feel the best. Write down why you are stressed. Then think, is it worth it? Is there something you can change to rid yourself of the worry? Becoming mindful of the things that trigger you will bring awareness to what might be putting the breaks on your progress.

Planning is key. What will you prepare on the weekend for food that can last you through the week so you don’t have to eat out? If you know you’ll be attending a holiday party over the weekend, make it a point to stick to healthy choices throughout the week. Have healthy snacks on hand like almonds, yogurt, veggie sticks, and fruit so when you want to reach for the chips or cookies, you have an easy healthy alternative.

Overall, creating a plan specifically for the holiday season and knowing what throws you of will be a helpful system to have to avoid getting way off track.

Mindful Eating

You may have been hearing about mindful eating in the media recently, and it’s because it is so beneficial for our bodies. Mindful eating is the act of actually connecting with our meals and slowing down while eating, rather than working through lunch or rushing to grab a quick bite. Make it a goal for one meal a day to practice mindful eating. Sit down with your food, and turn off the TV, phone, computer. Take some deep breaths to get rid of any negative thoughts running through your mind. Chew slowly, allowing yourself to taste the food and really appreciate the time you have. This helps digestion, leading to less bloat and discomfort. It also allows for hunger cues to arise sooner, eliminating oversized portions.

The holidays are a time to be thankful and really connect with family and friends. There is no reason this should be a time for your own health and wellness to take a turn down the wrong road. Make it a point to continue working on your goals, and know what has thrown you off in the past to be able to plan for it this year.

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