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Celebrating Memorial Day as an Intuitive Eater

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend which for many signals the start of summer! Sunshine, beach days, swimming, biking, relaxing, vacations…this is what I think of when May 31 rolls around.

 

But for you, the chronic dieter, thoughts of overeating at the BBQ, the dread of putting on a bathing suit, and the anticipation of wearing shorts are flooding your mind. You are probably thinking right now that right after this weekend you will start a diet so you are feeling better about your body by July 4th.

 

Sound about right?

 

You are tired of having food fear and body fear. You are tired of saying no to social invitations because there “won’t be any food there that I can eat on my diet”. You are tired of throwing in the towel time and time again saying “I’ll just enjoy myself today and start again tomorrow”.

 

How can you start living life as an intuitive eater as we approach the holiday weekend?

 

Here are 3 tips to get you started:

 

1) Recognize that no one food has the power over you to make you thin or fat. That’s right. Go into your Memorial Day BBQ this weekend without a list of good and bad foods, foods you can and can’t eat. Ask yourself what you really want to eat. Then go get it, put it on a plate and sit down and eat slowly and mindfully, savoring every bite. No guilty feelings, no worry, just enjoy every bite.

 

2) Stay fully present and aware. It’s very easy to get distracted when in a social situation and not pay attention to what or how much you are eating. Remind yourself that you will make conscious decisions around your food choices and will remain tuned in while you eat. Check in periodically as you are eating and remember, if you are satisfied, stop eating. You can always eat that burger another time.

3) Don’t eat to please others. Your host worked hard to put together a wonderful time full of food, drinks and desserts. Great. You ate, and you enjoyed. And now you are satisfied. If your host starts to pressure you to eat more (“Look how much I have left over!!”), just politely tell her how delicious everything was but you just cannot fit another bite in your belly. Stay true to yourself!

 

Have a wonderful celebration this weekend. Let me know how these 3 tips have helped you on your journey back to being an intuitive eater.

 

 

 

 

Mindful Eating During the Holidays

The holiday season is here and if you are concerned that you will gain weight like in past years, let me assure you that it doesn’t have to be that way.

 

Holiday weight gain often comes from mindless eating such as eating fast without even tasting the food, munching mindlessly on hor d’oeuvres before dinner or having that second piece of pecan pie because you felt pressured by the host.

 

In contrast, when you eat mindfully, you are more aware of your eating habits and the sensations you experience when you eat, such as the taste, texture and aroma of the food.

 

Here are 5 easy ways to get started.

 

  1. Slow down. Are you the first one to finish your meal or the last one? Before you begin eating, think about how you will proceed to eat your meal.  Consciously decide that you will slow down, and allow at least 20-30 minutes to eat.  Take the time to appreciate the food you are eating.

 

  1. Sit down at the table. Eating while standing in front of the refrigerator, buffet table or while walking around will decrease your attention and satisfaction with your meal. Instead, plan to sit while eating, even at a buffet party.  Fill your plate appropriately with food, and find a table to sit.  Friends and family will likely join you and you can enjoy nice conversation while being more mindful of your eating.

 

  1. Savor your food. Focus on each bite of food that you put into your mouth. Experience the taste, texture, flavors and aroma of the food.  Is it sweet, salty, sour, crunchy, or smooth?  Do you like it, dislike it, or it’s just okay?  If you aren’t fully satisfied with it, don’t finish it.

 

  1. Be in the moment. Are you fully present when you are eating?  Be sure to turn off the television, and avoid reading or talking on the phone while eating.  These activities take away from the mindfulness of eating.

 

  1. Put your fork down periodically throughout the meal. Observe what you do with your silverware during the meal. Do you keep it in your hand?  Are you preparing the next bite of food on the fork while chewing what’s in your mouth?  When you turn your attention to the next bite, you are not being mindful and completely miss the food that you are currently eating.  Instead of enjoying the food in your mouth, you are focusing on matters beyond the present.  So this year, put your fork down on the table while you are chewing and give all your attention to the food in your mouth.  When you finish that bite, pick up the fork and take another.

 

Another possible contributor to your holiday weight gain: food pushers.

 

If you have family or friends that are food pushers, it can be difficult to stop eating when you are full.  But it is OK to politely say “No thank you, I am full, but I will take a piece home for later.”  Many people will not push you any further, since you will be taking some home.

 

It is important to listen to your body and know when you are full.

 

Taking the time to listen to your body and following these 5 easy tips will get you started on your journey towards mindful eating and help you avoid unwanted holiday weight gain.

 

If you would my help and support through the holidays and New Year, just go to www.TalkWithBonnie.com and we’ll set up a time to talk.

 

Keep Your Nose Out of My Plate

Veggie pizza plateWhy is it that some people need to know what you are eating, and have opinions on what is best for you?

 

I was at a wedding the other night. When it came time for the dinner, I asked the waiter for a vegetarian plate. I don’t prefer chicken or meat, and I usually ask for the vegetarian option. Not a problem. Yet, when my dinner plate came to the table, all eyes were on it. “What do you have there?” “Why did you order vegetarian? You don’t eat meat?”

 

I don’t need to get into conversation with anyone about my food preferences or what I eat, unless of course I want to. But most of the time it is not welcomed.

 

Do you have people in your life that stick their nose into your plate? Perhaps they are offering you advice on what you should or should not eat to lose weight, lower your cholesterol or to have more energy? Even worse, have you heard the dreaded words “Should you be eating THAT?”

 

I call these people boundary invaders. They are invading your private personal space. They have NO IDEA what is right for you, what you inner signals are telling you, what your taste preferences are. They need to keep their noses in their own plates.

 

Here’s how to deal with these people:

Tell them, ever so politely, that you are in charge of your decisions as to what to eat and what is right for you. Respectfully ask them to mind their own business and look in their own plate.

 

As for me, I politely answered “Vegetarian is my preference this evening. Enjoy your meal.”

 

End of story.

 

Your turn to take action: Do you have a story to share of someone who had their nose in your plate? Share below.

 

 

5 Ways to Handle Food Pushers

Hand Stops CakeYou’ve probably experienced what I am about to talk about.

 

There you are at a friend’s home for dinner. It’s dessert time and she brings out a homemade apple pie. You left room for dessert, but you truly don’t feel like having apple pie. You much prefer to have the fresh berries with a dollop of whipped topping.

 

Your friend says “here, have a piece of apple pie”. And, you say, “no, thank you”. And she says “oh come on. I baked it just for you. One bite won’t kill you”. You say, “okay, I’ll have a small slice”.

 

Later that night, you are upset with yourself. Why did you give in and have that apple pie. You didn’t even enjoy it. You really wanted the fresh berries.

 

We call these people food pushers or pressure feeders. Why do they do what they do? And, what is the best way to deal with them?

 

I answer these questions in this week’s episode of The Diet Free Zone Show™.

 

Just click the image below to watch now.

Food Pushers

 

 

 

 

 

 

After watching the video, please share your food pusher experiences with me in the comment below.

 

No Thank You Miss Food Pusher

Hand Stops CakeAround this time of year with the holidays of Passover and Easter just around the corner, it is a good time to talk about a category of people I like to call “food pushers.”  These people mean well, but they have a tendency to start interfering with the hunger and fullness cues you have been working to develop.  To help explain, I am going to tell you a story one of my previous employees who has been on her own mindful eating journey told me recently.

 

Lucy* had struggled with cyclic weight gain throughout college and it wasn’t until she started studying nutrition that she began to realize it is not about diets, but about living a healthy lifestyle.  The more she started practicing intuitive eating principles, the more she stopped worrying about her weight, and was happy with her health.  The problem was, Lucy’s mom had her own hang-ups when it came to body image that she would sometimes project on her.  If Lucy appeared thinner to her mom, her mom would be more agreeable to offering her dessert, or encouraging her to take seconds at meals.  But when she felt like Lucy was going back to her “heavier” weight, she would make comments like “Are you really that hungry? Do you need to eat more?”

 

While this frustrated Lucy, the more she listened to her own intuitive eating voice the less she cared about what other people thought about the quality and quantity of the foods she decided to eat.  Recently she was shopping with her mom and sister and they spotted a candy that is only around during holiday time.  Lucy and her sister purchased one and split it.  Her mom said, “Did you need to eat that candy?” As she began to reply she realized there was no need for justification.  There was nothing wrong with her eating that candy, it was not mindless nor was it in excess so she simply said, “yes” and everyone moved on.  No food pushing (or pulling) away—just Lucy “trusting her gut” (pun intended!)

 

You might find that these people in your family, especially those you see only during the holidays, are the first to comment about your appearance and your eating habits.  They typically have a tendency to comment if they feel you did not eat enough and try to guilt you into taking more food.  There is no justification required for how much or how little you choose to eat.  You know what will satisfy you and you are in charge.  If you are afraid of hurting a family members feeling for not trying something special they made, simply ask for the recipe and say “thanks for the recipe, I can’t wait to make it!”

 

Family members sometimes have no filter.  Usually the things they say to you regarding your personal eating habits occur because they are unhappy with their own.  Perhaps this holiday season will be a time when food pushers turn into mindful eating converts when they see how well it is working for you.  And hey! If they need some guidance you know where to find me.

 

Your turn to take action: Recall a time a food pusher got involved in your decision about what and how much to eat.  What are some ways you could have stayed true to your own mindful eating needs instead of being swayed by them?

*Name changed