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Mindful Eating, Holiday Edition

DAVENPORT, IOWA – Kristin: Good Morning, this is your Wellness Wake Up Call with Kristin Bogdonas, nutrition and wellness educator for University of Illinois Extension, serving Rock Island, Henry, Mercer, and Stark Counties.Andrew: Mmm…Sweet, crunchy, golden, tender, rich, and delicious!

Kristin: With me is Andrew Dinsmoor, Dietetic Intern from University of Illinois. Hi Andrew, it sounds like you’re really enjoying your meal! What are you eating?

Andrew: Hey, Kristin. Nothing at the moment, I’m just imagining how good the food is going to taste during the holidays with my family. You know, slowing down to enjoy each bite helps me stay mindful. Eating mindfully helps me appreciate how the food tastes and how I feel in that moment.

Kristin: I’m looking forward to the holiday fare myself. Like you, I try to slow down to savor the flavor, which helps me pay better attention to my hunger cues. Since we’re on the topic of mindful eating, we should swap some ideas to help others eat with intention this holiday season.

Andrew: Great idea! Mindfulness is a practice so it’s a good thing we’re starting now. The more we eat with intention, the more we’ll enjoy and remember what we’re eating.

Kristin: The holidays will surely look a bit different this year but one thing will likely stay the same- an abundance of tasty treats. Fortunately, there are various mindful eating strategies to help us maintain balance throughout the season. Andrew, which are most helpful to you?

Andrew: It’s important to build a solid foundation from which to practice. According to Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat, there are certain attitudes or qualities that we should nurture in ourselves. Personally, I’ve been working on the qualities of nonjudgement, letting go, and patience.  When I choose foods, I try to select healthy options.  But once I have eaten the food, I try not to add additional judgments on if the food was “healthy enough” and to just let it go. I know another snack or mealtime is just around the corner.  And patience because in dietetics we want to take the long view on our eating habits.  So, I know I’m not going to change my long-term eating patterns or weight, for example, in a day or a week, but rather over months.

Kristin: That’s a good point. I always remind people to enjoy their holiday favorites since some of these only come around once a year. Sometimes our inner dialogue can get the best of us and you shouldn’t feel guilty for enjoying your favorite foods during the holidays. It’s that “all-or-nothing” thinking that can sabotage your healthy habits. Eating a few cookies doesn’t derail your diet, as long as you don’t overeat them. One of my best pieces of advice when enjoying desserts is to use the “3-bite rule”. The 1st bite is to taste it, the 2nd bite is to savor it and the 3rd bite is to be satisfied with it.

Andrew: Three bites don’t sound like a lot, but after a large meal that would probably be just right. Eating dessert with the meal, as opposed to between meals, can also help us enjoy these foods in moderation.

Kristin: Absolutely, moderation is key. To set ourselves up for success we should probably start planning now. My plan is to make sure we have plenty of vibrant veggies to munch on. That extra fiber will keep me feeling full between meals and less likely to reach for the pie.

Andrew: Definitely, incorporating veggies in the mix is a great tip!  Another one I like is having water a hand’s reach away.  With holiday spirits and sweet drinks around, having a full glass of water or a water bottle with you will be a reminder to stay hydrated and will also help you feel full and eat in moderation.

Kristin: This is great! I feel better prepared now that I have a plan so thank you, Andrew, for swapping mindful eating ideas with me. I hope our listeners got some new ideas as well.
For more holiday inspiration and a recording of today’s episode, visit WVIK.org/wellness.

Kristin: This has been Kristin Bogdonas, nutrition & wellness educator for University of Illinois Extension, serving Rock Island, Henry, Mercer, and Stark Counties.

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