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The Mindful Plate: Cultivating Awareness to Tackle Emotional Eating in the Holiday Season

Holidays are more than just festive feasts; they're a celebration of life, love, and togetherness. Yet, for many, this season comes with a side dish of emotional eating, leaving us feeling more weighed down than uplifted through old habits of eating with our emotions taking the wheel. Today, we begin on a journey together – a journey toward mindful eating, intentional choices, and an abundance of joy.

Family eating holiday meal
Family Festive Dinner

The Festive Temptation

Oh, the holidays – a time when the aroma of cinnamon and gingerbread permeates the air, and tables groan under the weight of drool-worthy delights. But, let's be honest, it's also a time when our emotions run as high as the calorie count on the holiday menu.

As a certified Life Coach and Personal Trainer, I've witnessed the struggle firsthand. Both in past client stories and a past version of myself. The emotional rollercoaster, from the sheer excitement of family gatherings to the nostalgia that can transport us back to our childhood in an instant, all wrapped up in a bow of festive temptation.

Emotional Eating: Unveiling the Why

Before we dive into the 'how,' let's unravel the intricate web of emotions that often lead us down the path of emotional eating during the holidays in the first place. It's like unwrapping a gift – you don't know what's inside until you peel back the layers.

Reconnecting with the Inner Child

Remember the sheer joy and wonder of the holidays when you were a child? The twinkling lights, the excitement of gifts, the unfiltered laughter – it was magical. Now, as adults, we sometimes seek solace in food, attempting to recreate that feeling.

Unless you were on the other end of the spectrum where Holidays were a stressful time for your family. Especially financially. The feeling of 'not enough' can elicit the emotion of scarcity. This is when we may seek to use the physical feeling of being 'full' in hopes of triggering some sort of emotion of adequacy.

Ask yourself: How can we reconnect with our inner child without reaching for that second helping of comfort food?

Navigating the Storm of Emotions

The holidays stir up a whirlwind of emotions – joy, gratitude, stress, and sometimes even loneliness. It's important to acknowledge and navigate these emotions consciously.

Ask yourself: Can we ride the waves of emotion without being swept away by them?

Mindfulness: The Guiding Light

Now that we've identified the emotional triggers, let's talk about the game-changer – mindfulness. Picture it as the guiding light that illuminates the path to intentional choices and a harmonious relationship with food.

The Power of Now: Staying Present

In a world that moves at a relentless pace, the holidays beckon us to slow down and savour each moment. Mindful eating starts with being present – fully engaged in the act of eating, appreciating the flavours, textures, and the company around us.

Ask yourself: Can we find joy in the simplicity of a single bite, appreciating the present rather than dwelling on past regrets or future anxieties?

Mindful Choices: Intentional and Empowered

As someone who has been on this emotional eating roller coaster enough times, it should be on my resume, I can't stress this enough – every bite is a choice. Mindful eating empowers us to make intentional choices about what we put on our plates. It's not about deprivation; it's about savouring each indulgence consciously.

Ask yourself: How can we approach holiday meals with gratitude and make choices that honour our well-being?

Practical Tips for a Mindful Feast

Let's put theory into action. Here are some practical tips to infuse mindfulness into your holiday celebrations:

  • Create a Mindful Environment:

  • Dim the lights, set a beautifully decorated table, and make each meal a sensory experience.

  • Savor Every Bite:

  • Slow down, chew deliberately, and truly taste the flavours. Let each bite be a celebration.

  • Pause Before Seconds:

  • Before reaching for seconds, take a moment. Are you truly hungry, or are you responding to an emotional cue?

  • Engage the Senses:

  • Incorporate scents, textures, and visuals into your meals. Engaging the senses enhances the mindful eating experience.

The Challenge and the Reward

Begining the journey toward mindful eating during the holidays is not without its challenges. The pull of tradition, the sway of emotions, and the abundance of irresistible treats can test our willpower. Yet, with each mindful choice, you unwrap a gift – the gift of a healthier relationship with food and a more joyful holiday season.

Conclusion: A Feast for the Soul

As we navigate the sea of emotions during the holidays, let's remember that mindful eating is not a restriction but a liberation. It's a feast for the soul, a celebration of life in every bite. So, let's unwrap the gift of mindfulness and savour the joy of the holidays with every intentional and empowered choice.

In the spirit of joy and abundance, I challenge you to be present, to savour, and to celebrate – not just the holidays, but the beautiful journey of life itself. Here's to a season filled with mindful feasting and soulful rejoicing!

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-Coach Dillon AKA Wolverine

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