As the holidays are approaching and the public health guidelines are still encouraging everyone to stay at home, it is important to keep your healthy eating habits going. Mindful eating is a way to stay in tune with your body without eating out of boredom or overeating.
Continue to find ways to move your body at home because staying indoors all day is contributing to less caloric output and more tendency to store extra calories as weight gain. If it helps, you can also use a fitness tracker or an app to track calories burned versus calories eaten.
Mindful eating is the process of staying present when you eat a meal and also checking in with yourself during the day. Try to intuitively predict what your body is craving for food, not just your brain. Make sure each meal has a protein, vegetable and a healthy fat like fish, nuts, seeds, avocado or olive oil. If you want a carbohydrate, try to make it more of a complex carb like beans, squash, vegetables, or a whole grain like brown rice or quinoa.
If you go too long without eating of course you will get very hungry, so if you are checking in with your body, eat a snack between meals with protein to prevent this. If you crave sugar or a treat, have it in moderation in a smaller quantity. If you practice too much restriction of certain food groups you will likely end up overeating as a result.
When you are cooking, try different types of foods and recipes to make it fun. With indoor dining being closed, people are likely making more of their own food at home. By meal prepping at the start of the week, you can plan the recipes to make it easier. Only buy what you are going to use, that way you save wasted food and also are less likely to grab something that is not healthy.
When you practice mindful eating, stay present with each bite of food. Notice what it tastes like, what is the texture, does it have a smell? This will help you stay more grounded during the meal. Try to stay relaxed, as your digestive tract functions more efficiently when not stressed. If you practice some grounding techniques and breathing exercises prior to eating, this can also help facilitate digestion. Keep making healthy choices over time, and that will help you be successful.
Dr. Allison Apfelbaum is a naturopathic primary care doctor at Tree of Health in Woodinville.