It’s that time of year again.
Halloween candy is around every corner.
- Piled high on grocery store shelves – “Buy me!”
- Begging to be shared on your co-worker’s desk – “Eat me!”
What are we to do when there are so many treats tempting us at every turn?
Should we run back to our desk cubicle, hide, and hope the candy doesn’t find us, all while thinking longingly about if for the rest of the day? Or should we eat it all really fast so then it is “gone quicker”? Whew! Dealing with the candy monster sounds exhausting!
Well breathe a sigh of relief. Because who has the power when it comes to deciding what foods to put in your body? YOU DO! One of the best things you can do when holiday treats come calling is to empower yourself. Give yourself permission to decide whether or not to enjoy that Fun Size® Twix or pumpkin spice brownie bar. The key word here is “enjoy.”
In order to fully enjoy what we eat, we must be completely present and in the moment. This is where mindful eating comes into play. Mindful eating is a practice during which you become aware of all of the senses related to eating. Ask yourself some of these questions to really understand your own eating experience. It takes some practice, but you might learn a lot about your emotions, food preferences, or previously unnoticed habits.
- What are your emotions before, during, or after eating a particular food? Are you happy, sad, excited, stressed?
- Do you notice your hunger signals while you’re eating? Do you listen to your body when it tells you it is satisfied? Or do you notice you are uncomfortable after it is too late?
- What does your food smell like? Does is smell good?
- What is the texture like when you chew? Is it smooth or crunchy? Does it get stuck in your teeth?
- What does the food taste like? Salty, sweet, spicy? Do you enjoy the flavor?
By practicing mindful eating, you are in the driver’s seat. You can identify which treats bring you the greatest satisfaction and willingly decide to pass on the treats that are “just okay.” When you go on vacation, do you want to pay hundreds of dollars for a trip that is “just okay,” or do you want to get the most for your money? The same goes for your body. Nourish yourself with foods that will promote good health, and treat yourself to little indulgences that are truly satisfying! Instead of telling yourself “I shouldn’t have that,” learn to realize when you actually think “I know too many sweets will give me a stomach ache” or “I don’t even like [insert sub-par candy here].” Pay attention, be selective, and trust yourself. With time, you will know exactly what foods you love and what makes you feel great.
So next time the office candy bowl is calling your name, choose your favorite piece or feel free to pass if there is nothing that looks that good. Unwrap your treat of choice, look at it, eat it during a time when you can really appreciate it, and Enjoy. Every. Bite.
If you would like to learn more about mindful eating, there are great resources on The Center for Mindful Eating website.
Love your food, and love yourself! ~ Holly, RDN
A place for our consultant Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to share nutrition science, yummy and healthy recipes, tips on seasonal ingredients, and other nutritional musings. Enjoy!