Take a mindful approach to your nutrition

  • Published
  • By Matthew Palmisano
  • 182nd Medical Group

We all know that during the holiday season we eat and drink more… try being mindful!

Mindfulness encompasses the ability to give attention to what is happening while it is happening. Mindfulness extends to our eating habits as well.

While the holidays allow us to take a break from our day-to-day routine and focus on friends and family, the struggle some of us have with food can add stress to the holidays.

Using tools that enhance mindfulness can help you enjoy food without feeling guilty or pressured during holiday social engagements. Mindful eating is not about denying food, but instead, it is all about enjoying whatever we eat. Try these three easy tips to practice mindful nutrition as a form of self-care throughout the holidays.

1. Slow down and enjoy your food. Sit down and look at the food in front of you, enjoy the flavors before swallowing or taking a bite of food. Recognize your conscious choice to eat pie or a cookie and enjoy it without guilt. Guilt usually leads to forgoing self-control and then binge eating.

2. Prepare for social distractions. Social interactions lead to distractions and take the focus away from what you’re consuming. People eat and drink more when they are around others. Preparing for the social distractions means having a game plan, including alternating drinking alcohol with water and sitting down while eating.

3. Do not skip meals. Skipping meals increases the risk of binge eating, leading to the least healthy, higher sugar content, food choices. If you feel you need to regulate your intake, use food logs or calorie trackers. Free calorie trackers include electronic journals or printable paper journals.

Implementing basic mindfulness tools to improve your nutrition can help you avoid psychological pitfalls. The bottom line is to eat in moderation and continue engaging in physical activity. Remember that mind body connection.

Happy New Year!

Matthew Palmisano, MSW, LICSW, US ARMY CPT (Ret)
Director of Psychological Health
182d Medical Group (MDG)
Comm: 309-633-5774
Mobile: 309-210-8390