The countdown to Christmas is officially on – it is so close now! Christmas is such a beautiful time of the year. Spending time with family and friends, enjoying delicious food and warmer weather, it’s just perfect.
Eating intuitively is particularly important over Christmas, as it can be easily forgotten this time of year. We are all so busy! December seems to fly by with work deadlines,end of year parties and endless amounts of shopping and cooking to be done.
So, just what is intuitive eating? Intuitive eating is really about tuning into your body’s natural hunger and satiety cues. Eating mindfully is essential in order to do this. Taking the time to sit down, take a proper break and enjoy your food, without any distractions such as your phone or the TV.
Read on for our top three tips for intuitive eating during the holidays!
1. Be strict about taking time out for meals.
We have all had those days where we found ourselves scoffing down lunch at our desk while we power through work. Unfortunately, this can start to become the norm as we rush towards the end of the year. Or, we might not have time to eat at all!
Skipping meals or eating while distracted is basically the complete opposite of intuitive eating. When our mind is focused on other things we cannot pay attention to our body and therefore do not respond to our body’s natural satiety cues. It takes the mind around 20 minutes to register that your stomach is full – and most of us do not take 20 minutes to eat a meal.
During busy times, such as December and January, scheduling your meals into your work day as if they were a 30 minute meeting can be helpful. Aim to really cherish that time and not let other priorities take over. Some days it might only be 20 minutes, but that is certainly better than nothing. Those few minutes of being present and enjoying your food will do wonders for your wellbeing, so it is well worth the investment of time.
2. Plan ahead (sometimes).
On the one hand, planning meals in advance is great as it allows you ensure you are having a nutritious meal and saves you from those busy after-work supermarket trips. However, being too rigid with your meal prep can take away from your ability to tune into your cravings and make spontaneous decisions about what you would like to eat, or to make last minute plans to go out.
The happy medium is planning a few meal options and shopping for those ingredients, but don’t assign those meals to particular nights. Even better, if you can make a big batch of a favourite meal that freezes well, then you have those healthy meals there as a back up, when you get home after a late night shopping trip. This time of year plans tend to change all the time, so a relaxed method of meal prepping allows for this.
3. Enjoy eating out.
One of the best things about this time of year is socialising with family and friends! However, this can be the source of a lot of food-related guilt. But, it doesn’t need to be! The concept of intuitive eating actually fits in perfectly with eating out. In this setting, intuitive eating is about being present with your loved ones, savouring the food you are eating, eating slowly while chatting away, and tuning in to what your body is telling you. This is what will stop you from accidentally overindulging and wishing you didn’t wear those tight jeans! Intuitive eating also does not allow room for feeling guilty about our food choices. It is all about listening to your body and going with that feeling.