10 Tips for Mindful Eating over Christmas

It’s that time of year isn’t it.  The one where you look at your food cupboard and realise you’ve purchased enough food for your entire street and you haven’t even bought the turkey yet.

If you’re anything like us, you starting by buying a box of biscuits in November, because they were on offer, and have bought another two since because they are still on offer.  Same with the box/tin of chocolates, cranberry sauces and gravy packets (even after I promised I was going to make our own).  Everything is bought to excess even though every year you say you won’t do that again.

By the end of Boxing day we start to feel rather guilty from the over indulgences but think to ourselves, it’s okay because come 1st January we’ll right it all with a cut price subscription to the gym.

Sound familiar?

Well what if you could stop the guilt? Hell knows, us women spend far too much time after all the food is eaten trying to justify why we ate what we did (convenience and because we’re trying to juggle 101 other things at the same time to get the food on the table usually), and then spend the next two months trying to right it again with diets that don’t last and exercise we’ve got no time for.

So I thought I’d share just a few of the tips I’ve learn’t along my journey of loosing weight and eating healthier, a journey that never stops.  It’s a continuous process where I just keep learning, occassionally failing but always learning, and you can too.

Ten Mindful Christmas Tips

Like many others Christmas is a real challenge for me, but it can also be one when we really try to change our mindset, not only on the foods we eat but why and how we eat what we do.

  1. If you’re into paleo then Christmas is a real easy time. Load up as much as your plate can carry with meat and veggies and just limit (or better yet skip altogether) the potatoes.
  2. Snack up on nuts and fruit not the sugar coated varieties, just plain, but delicious, almonds, dates and satsumas.
  3. Keep away from anything that has pastry and enjoy the (solid) chocolates instead (the higher the cocoa value the better).
  4. After the big meal has been eaten and the washing up all done, stretch your legs and go for a walk. Just 10 minutes can really make a difference, and 20 minutes would be huge (plus it gives you a chance to show off that new scarf)!  If it’s sunny, enjoy the warmth on your face and if it’s snowy – have a snowball fight!
  5. Don’t try and eat everything on the day, yes we may have bought too much but it will usually last. Bag it, freeze it, give it away. What ever you need to do, just don’t chuck anything that doesn’t need to be chucked. The turkey can be turned into a zillion different dishes while here is a cracking one for left over sprouts.
  6. Swap the crisps for celery and carrot sticks to go with the hummus and other dips.
  7. Consider ditching the turkey (other meat) altogether. There are many great recipes which don’t have turkey as the main focus and which doesn’t start with the word “nut” and end in “roast”. Sometime’s its hard to go against the family tradition (it’s hard enough where I am), but I’ve decided what I’m going to try and do this year is introduce a veggie dish onto the table and see what reaction I get. That way people have choice and there is no pressure on choosing either.
  8. Alcohol is a big issue during the Christmas period.  You want to be sociable and yet you know every mixer drink you have is just piling on the pounds and making you feel hungry.  Instead limit your drinks (I know it’s hard), or just stick to one type of drink – preferable red wine as it does actually have health benefits.  Alternatively you could just say no when offered, and no again repeatedly throughout the big day.  You could also spout all those boring facts about how fat and bad alcohol is but I don’t think that’ll win you any popularity points.  Instead say you’ll make everyone the most delicious mocktails and be the envy of the party as you strut your stuff like Tom Cruise.
  9. When you have the Christmas pudding pour on the custard rather than the brandy butter.  Better yet, make it vegan custard.
  10. Remember, it’s Christmas.  It comes but once a year.  Just enjoy yourself.  Its all about spending quality time with friends and family, not just about what you eat.  However if you just eat with mindfulness you’ll soon discover you’re already on your way to a much healthier 2014 without any effort.

Wishing every one of my dear readers a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas.

I’ll catch you after the holiday’s.

__________________________________

Cover photo courtesy of Tony Bradbury

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12 responses to “10 Tips for Mindful Eating over Christmas

      • Hi Sophie
        Back from the Lakes now..visiting parents in Ulverston. Lovely Christmas and despite the weather ..managed to get out and about and do a great walk along part of Windermere, which I’m about to write about just now. Next year …less walks, more garden! So good to get your tips. Thanks.

      • Ah yes went through Ulverston, first time this yr – nice place. I shall look forward to reading your walk. I am hoping to do a few when I head back to the Lakes next year! What’s the best fell to for a beginner to tackle would you say?
        Pleased to hear you like the blogs. If you want you know about anything specific just get in touch – happy to blog about anything!

      • Hi Sophie
        Sorry for delayed response. Your reply had got hidden in my Notifications so I didn’t notice it until just now. No email to tell me it was there!
        I would say the walk I did up Gummers How on walk 21 was a good one. Also one called Latterbarrow which you can get to from Hawkshead. Both easily accessible and for a relatively short climb both give terrific views. Or if you feeling like more of a challenge then Haystacks was fantastic.
        I read your end of year note the other day and was mighty impressed by your weight loss in the last year. This is my mission this year…do you have more detail somewhere on how you achieved this I wondered?
        Happy New Year- regards Julie

      • Oh please don’t apologise, I know what it’s like! Thank you for taking the time to respond. I wondered about Haystacks, but will look into the Latterbarrow and Gummers How too. I can’t wait whatever!

        Re. weight loss. I had written a post about it – http://sophiecussen.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/loosing-weight-boom/ (I don’t want to appear to be plugging, but it’s there if you fancy a read) which details a a lot of it but basically, for me, it came down to one thing – mind set. Once I was ready to loose weight then I lost weight. Until then it’s just an idea because it’s not just weight loss, it’s a lifestyle change hence the need to get my head in gear.
        Let me know how you get on and if you want any support in anything – just shout. Good luck.

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