The holiday season has begun, and this is a time when many people use the holidays and parties as excuses to eat whatever they want. I am a big believer in eating whatever you want once you have become a conscious eater, but until then, it’s an excuse. Conscious eaters are capable of eating when they are hungry and stopping when they are full. They can indulge in moderation. They taste food, pay attention to the way their bodies feel while they are eating, and don’t numb out when they are indulging. Many people will use the holidays as a get out of jail free card, but then often times beat themselves up afterwards.
The first, and what I believe to be the most important step in becoming a more conscious eater, is to pay attention and think while you are eating. If you are the type of person who mindlessly eats a pint of ice cream while watching tv, eats lunch while you are driving, has your hand in a bag of chips while working, then I suggest turning off the tv, eating lunch when you have a minute to sit at a table, and only snack while doing nothing else. Think about whether your body gave you cues that you were hungry, or if it was your mind telling you it’s lunchtime. Does your stomach feel empty, or does your head just tell you, “I feel like eating.” While you are eating, focus only on eating. Eat slowly, think about chewing, about how the food tastes. So many of my clients say they love eating, but then when I ask them to describe a meal in detail, they can barely remember eating it. What’s to love about that?!
In the beginning this type of eating can be a lot of work, but it does get easier. It is possible to eat just one piece of candy on Halloween, not go back for seconds on Thanksgiving, and overlook a Christmas cookie just because you aren’t hungry. It’s all about being present and not fooling yourself…and it’s very hard to fool yourself when you pay attention!