New Year’s Eve and reflections abound on the year past. Was it a good or bad year? Eyes turn to the coming year with new hope of a fresh start.
We make our resolutions; to exercise more; to lose weight; to drink less; to make time to visit friends and family. Every year we tell ourselves that this year we will hold to our resolutions. By February, most of us revert back to our usual habits.
Why not try tangible intentions instead of vague resolutions?
Here’s an example. Many of you may already be familiar with the S. M. A. R. T. acronym. Below is an example of a tangible, achievable intention.
Specific – I want to do yoga once per week
Meaningful – it will help me to relax and be flexible
Action oriented – I will book 1 month’s worth of classes ahead of time
Realistic – I can spare the time once per week
Timely – I will start in January, 2016 and repeat the process for each month this year
If you want to succeed in making a real change in your life then it is necessary to put it in your daily or weekly plan. Creating a tangible plan is far more likely to generate the results you want.
What is your S.M.A.R.T. intention?
The holidays can be filled with joy for most but is often extremely stressful. We place such high expectations on what we buy, the parties we give or go to and the food we prepare. All this is usually on top of our already hectic, crazy lives. Many may already be emotional eaters but this situation is aggravated at Christmas.
Here are some of the styles of emotional eating:
Head Hunger – to soothe feelings or emotions such as stress, happiness, or boredom
Taste Hunger – eating beyond fullness because it tastes so good
See Food Hunger – eat larger portions than needed “because it’s there”
Habit Hunger – you have a specific routine and eat even when you are not hungry
Distracted Hunger – Eat with distractions such as working, reading, watching TV, socializing and you don’t notice what you are eating and only stop when your plate is empty
Here are sign that you are experiencing emotional hunger:
- Hunger comes on suddenly
- You crave a specific food and only that food will meet your need
- Must be satisfied RIGHT NOW with what you crave
- May eat well beyond the point of physical fullness
- Feel guilty after having eaten
If you experience any of the above, you know that you are eating not because you are hungry but for emotional reasons. You are now able to recognize the difference between physical and emotional hunger.
Here are a few strategies you might try:
- Drink water – sometimes we think we are hungry but we are actually thirsty.
- Go for a walk – alone if necessary, to get away from the food and crowds.
- Determine what triggered the sudden craving that made you emotional – you may not be able to solve the issue that makes you feel this way right now but at least you recognize the source of the emotion you are feeling.
- If you are going to be eating anyway, make sure you REALLY like what you are eating – take the time to savour it. If the food does not provide extreme satisfaction, stop eating.
- Walk away from the situation that is making you anxious. You can’t change people; you can only change your reaction to them.
I hope that this helps you with your emotional eating…or at least get you to realize what you are doing.
Have fun and I wish you all the best.
It is less than one week to Christmas and I want to share some eating strategies that may prevent you from overindulging and they will let you celebrate without guilt.
First, check whether your eating is out of whack with your actual physical hunger. When you should eat can be determined based on a hunger scale.
1 = completely empty
10 = overfull and feeling physically ill
You may have noted that the lower the number, the likelier you should eat due to physical hunger and the higher the number indicates that you should stop eating.
Second, keep to the lower numbers on the hunger scale to help you decide when you should eat.
If you wonder what constitutes physical hunger, here are a few pointers:
- Hunger comes on gradually
- You are open to a variety of options
- You can wait to eat
- You are more likely to stop eating when full
- You don’t feel guilty for eating
When you are attending or hosting a party, it is easy to ignore hunger and to eat for the following reasons:
- Social – eating around people or in social situations and being influenced by seeing what other people are eating
- Situational – because it’s there
- Thoughts – making excuses or rationalizations for eating
Here are a few strategies to help you be a mindful eater:
- Eat when you are gently hungry – don’t wait until you are ravenous
- Serve yourself smaller portions
- Stop eating part-way through your meal and gauge the level of hunger you still feel
- Do you feel satisfied?Mind
- Are you still eating because the food is there?
- Discover your “last bite” threshold, and push your plate away or bring it to the kitchen
- Don’t stand near the buffet or where food is laid out – you will likely pick at it
- Savour the food. Taste it and, on a scale of 1 – 10, if it is not an 8, 9, or 10, don’t eat any more of it. Why eat food that you don’t find appealing?
Adopting mindful eating strategies will help you get through the holidays and beyond without packing on the pound and still having a good time.