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5 Tips to help you mindfully eat this Christmas

Christmas is nearly upon us, a time of coming together to enjoy a meal and embrace the company of friends and family. Most festive celebrations are centered around delicious food.  This can make it a challenging time when it comes to making choices about what we’re putting in our body and whether it’s serving us well in the short or long term.

So, when it comes to Christmas day, I recommend you focus on mindful eating.  This allows you to really taste what you’re eating and drinking, savouring the flavours.  It places consciousness on feeling the food's nourishment of your body and consideration of whether you really want the short term ‘benefit’ of overeating or overindulging in things that don’t serve you so well, those things that bring uncomfortable aftermath of experiences.

In my experience the practice of mindful eating allows you to totally embrace what Christmas is really about; it allows you to be truly present to experience precious time with loved ones, relaxation, laughter and fun.

Top five tips for eating mindfully this Christmas

1. Be kind to yourself

Don't deprive yourself when it comes to special occasions.  If your mum makes a beautiful Christmas cake, enjoy it rather than being hard on yourself.  You’ll notice when you do this that you also naturally slow down and savour it rather than stuffing in far more than you need.  You can always nourish your body by adding in more nutrients at your next meal.

2. Focus on eating to increase your nutrients levels

This means eating foods that best serve your personal body type and lifestyle.  Christmas day often comes along with tempting simple carbohydrates.  Think processed sweet treats, cakes and bread.  Problems arise when we eat too many simple carbohydrates as they spike your blood sugar levels dramatically, resulting in mood and energy fluctuations, inflammation in the body and more often than not, weight gain.

So, to ensure the food you eat leaves you feeling happy and healthy, try filling your Christmas plate with nutrient-dense foods.  Nourishing your body this way will sustain your full feeling for longer and keep your energy levels high and consistent.

3. The 80/20 guideline

Eating 80 percent nutrient-rich wholefoods and 20 percent ‘treat’ options is a great way to help you stay on track at Christmas.  By sticking to this ratio, you can fill your Christmas plate to your macronutrient profile, and if you do feel like having a glass of red wine, dessert or the likes, this can make up your 20 percent.  It’s important to concentrate on the food that you eat most of the time, or in other words, 80 percent of the time.

It’s what you do every day that counts, not what you do sometimes.  Christmas only comes around once a year, so have that 20 percent, put your worries aside and enjoy the day.

4. Stay hydrated

With the combination of summer heat and dehydrating effects of alcohol, staying hydrated is very important.  Water allows us to flush excess toxins from our body, supports our liver and keeps our cells nice and healthy. 

Keep a big jug of filtered water with some cucumber on hand, or find other fun ways to fancy up your H20 to serve as a reminder to drink plenty of water.

5. Slow down now and enjoy each bite and sip

This starts with looking at your plate, consciously appreciating everything that is on it.  Then it comes to chewing your food properly, tasting the flavours and textures fully.  When chewing each mouthful you send a message to your stomach that food is on the way.  This optimises the production of digestive enzymes to both breakdown your food and improve the absorption of nutrients.  Chewing also slows down eating, allowing your stomach to send a message to your brain when you are feeling full.

This summer break I really encourage you to stay present and aware of the decisions you make and notice how these decisions impact your happiness and health.  This is something my wife Lynda and I also work consciously to instil with my girls over the festive season.  Helping our kids learn these values early on is a great way of setting them up for life.

I’ve created you these top five tips to support and empower you in mindful eating this Christmas.  Remember to enjoy yourself and celebrate those small wins when you feel full ownership of your happiest, healthiest self through the conscious actions you take.