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Discretion not Denial Using Mindfulness During the Holidays- Jane McIntosh, MA, CNS, E-RYT 500

The Holidays bring to mind parties, family gatherings (especially after many have experienced not being able to meet prior due to Covid), and just the easy accessibility of enticingedibles no matter where you turn.  With these happy and festivetimes not the best food choices can accompany.    Rather than thinking of deprivation (studies continue to show that “all or nothing” thinking reinforces that “dieting” mentality) try usingyour mindfulness as a guide to navigate those tricky turns.

Let us take an example.  Let’s say you are seated in the living room waiting for the host to call everybody for dinner.   The array of pre-meal snacks on the table is overflowing. Cocktails, elegant hors d'oeuvres, nuts, and a vast array of sumptuous snacks.   Non-discernment may cause you to find yourself eating too many, and too quickly.  Using discernment allows you to savor the choice by eating slowly, focusing on how the food tastes and makes you feel.  It can be hard to do this when there is so much going on around us but if you just really think about the taste, and the texture, you may find that after eating one you can tell yourself, that was good, I enjoyed it and one is enough. If you start to find yourself on autopilot, going for another round, pause, and ask yourself a question.  Am I hungry for this or is it because it is just there in front of me?

Since I am also a yoga teacher, I liken this to what happens to many in yoga class.  When in yoga class it’s very common for the teacher to say, “use discretion with the effort”.   Why? We find our edge.   We do not push ourselves beyond our limit because we know if we do, we pay a price (overstretched ligaments, strained muscles, unnecessary wear and tear on joints).   If we do not use discernment when we eat, it can easily add extra calories which leads to extra pounds on our frame that make it harder for our body to function (extra weight on joints, increase workload for heart muscle) and increases the likelihood of high blood pressure and diabetes.

Eating healthy does not mean deprivation, denial, or discouragement, it means using discretion.

TRY THE TIP:      After eating one serving of the fun but not so healthy choice, make sure you pause and ask yourself; do I really want this?  

Now let those bells jingle, enjoy all your festive meetings knowing that using discernment and mindfulness will keep you merry.

 

Reference:   A Neuroscientist Tackles ‘Why Diets Make Us Fat’ NPR.org

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