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 and we’ll set up a time to talk.


The Secret to Avoiding Weight Gain Over the Holiday Season

cookies-wrapped-in-bow-holidayYou love the holidays but dread the anticipated weight gain typical of the holiday season. Instead of stressing about how much weight you might gain and then setting your New Year’s resolution around finding a diet to drop the weight, why not try a different approach this year.


The secret to avoiding the expected holiday weight gain is to focus on weight maintenance.


Maintaining weight can be achieved by following a few simple strategies.


Three is key

This represents three meals, which means don’t skip breakfast and don’t overeat at the midday holiday meal in anticipation of skipping the last meal of the day. Skipping breakfast can potentially cause your blood sugar to drop, as well as your mood, and lead to overeating at the holiday meal.  The key is to start your day off with a healthy breakfast and have lunch and/or a snack before guests arrive or before heading out to the party.  Tune in when you eat and let your body’s internal signals guide you.


Indulge in your favorites

Don’t avoid your favorites that come around once a year. Avoidance can lead to caving in and then to overeating.  It is much better to eat a small portion of something you really want than to give it up entirely. Choose those treats that you don’t typically have year round such as Aunt Susan’s green bean casserole, Momma’s roast beef with gravy or Grandma Sarah’s holiday sugar cookies. Take one portion one time without guilt.


Survey the buffet

Take a walk around the buffet table and see what food offerings there are. Choose 3 to 4 items that you absolutely want, making sure that they include a protein, grain and vegetable at the very least so you have a balanced plate.


Keep hydrated

Drinking lots of water helps to keep you hydrated!  Ensure that you are drinking at least eight (8 oz.) glasses of water each day.  Start your day with 16 oz. before breakfast, have another 16 oz. with lunch and dinner, and one glass mid-morning and mid-afternoon.



The more you stress, the greater the surge in cortisol, you primary stress hormone.  This sets you up for sugar cravings and weight gain.  Commit to practicing deep breathing every morning before you get out of bed, every evening before you lay down, and any time during the day that you need it.  Include yoga, Pilates, meditation in your daily/weekly schedule to help with stress relief.


Daily Exercise

An important element in weight maintenance over the holidays is continuing with your exercise routine.  Incorporating interval training and strength training has been found to be just the right to help you keep your weight in check over the holiday season.


Weight maintenance throughout the holiday season is a realistic and smart goal.  These tips will help you enjoy the holidays without the worry of weight gain.  Start the New Year off with a new mindset.  You will feel the difference!


Are you looking for something to help you make it through the holidays and use these tips?  Come on over to our private Facebook group to take part in a 4 Week FREE Challenge “Enjoy Your Holiday Festivities and Sweets without Guilt.”


I’ll post a challenge each day, and ask you to post your action and results! Let’s shine through the month of December and enjoy all the celebration while feeling great!


Starting December 5, 2016


Week 1: Self-care during the holidays
Week 2: Navigating holiday parties
Week 3: Eat Your Sweets without Guilt
Week 4: Party into the New Year


This challenge will be happening in our Private FB Group! Join here!


7 Tips to a Mindful Morning Routine

Woman barefoot walking beachIf you are like most people, your morning is one mega rush! Quick jump out of bed, shower, get dressed and run out the door! You’re lucky if you grab a coffee and muffin to eat in the car as you head out to start your day. Or, you stop at the local convenience store and pick up a bagel with butter and a ginormous cup of Joe. Worse yet, you don’t eat any breakfast and your first meal of the day is lunch.


Sound familiar?


If so, you are probably not stopping long enough to figure out how your body feels when you treat it like this. You are on autopilot, doing the same routine day after day and wonder why you crash by the time you get home from work.


Nourishing your body from the moment you open your eyes in the morning is key to a healthy mind, body and soul.


I recognize it may take some time for you to change your morning routine, so focus on slow changes over time, at your level of comfort.


Here are 7 tips to get you started.


  1. When you first wake up, take some time to meditate, even if it’s for just 3-5 minutes. It will allow you to connect with yourself on a deeper level as you start your day.


  1. Set your intention about how your day will be, for example “Today will be an incredible day. I feel positive and alive”.


  1. Spend 30 minutes to get your blood flowing and heart pumping through an enjoyable exercise routine or body movement activity.


  1. Shower and get dressed in clothes that you feel comfortable in. Respect your body at the size it is now, no matter what size that is, and wear clothes (including undergarments!) that fit you well and comfortably.


  1. Sit down and enjoy a balanced breakfast that includes wholesome food that you enjoy. Savor each bite, noting the taste, texture, temperature and aroma. Appreciate the food on your plate as you stay fully present in the eating experience without any distractions (avoid reading the morning newspaper or watching the news as you eat).


  1. Pack your lunch and get ready to leave.


  1. Hug your loved ones (for a boost of “feel good” hormones) and head out the door.


True, this morning routine takes some time, which means you will have to wake up a bit earlier than you are used to. And, that likely means that you will have to go to sleep a little earlier too.


But let me ask you, aren’t you worth it?



Your turn to take action: Practice incorporating this morning routine into your life and let me know how you feel in the comments below.



Are You Feeding Your Stomach or Emotions?

Emotional eating quoteIf you are having one of those days where nothing seems to go right and all you want is something to make you feel better, what do you reach for?  Are you reaching for food?  If so, is that bag of chips really making you feel better?


“I had a long day and the only thing that will make me feel better is my favorite junk food!”


Does this sound like something you would say?  I have many clients that come to me seeking help in dealing with their emotional eating.  They find themselves eating when they are stressed, upset or bored, and they don’t feel satisfied afterwards. In fact, they feel guilty, ashamed and desperate.


I help my clients to realize they will not feel satisfied when they are feeding their emotions.


I want to help you understand this too.


Emotional eating is eating in response to feelings, not because you are physically hungry.


Eating away your emotions may make you feel better for an instant, but when the bag is empty you’re left with the same feelings of guilt, the discomfort of overeating, plus those original emotions you had in the first place.

Whether you are eating as a way to reward yourself for a job well done or trying to make yourself feel better after a rough day, this form of emotional eating can affect your mood and health long after the bag is empty.


To identify if you are emotionally eating, you should figure out what is driving your desire to eat.  Are you experiencing physical hunger or psychological hunger?


Ask yourself the following questions:

  • “How am I feeling? Am I upset, angry, tired or even happy? Could this be causing me to crave a certain food?”
  • “Do I usually use food for comfort?”
  • “Do I associate rewards with food?” Maybe you just received a promotion, is your first thought “I’ll celebrate with dessert tonight?”
  • “When was the last time I ate?” Natural hunger cues start to occur a couple of hours after you last ate.  If you just ate, you might not be experiencing physical hunger.


These habits can be hard to break and you will need to dig deep inside of you to figure out what you are truly feeling.  This isn’t always easy as sometimes it’s uncomfortable to feel your emotions.  I get it.


One way to deal with your emotions without food is to distract yourself.


Here are some tips you can try today to help you regain control over your emotions:

  • Go for a walk to get endorphins going and help you clear your mind.
  • Do yoga or meditation to clear your mind and help you relax.
  • Call or text a friend to talk about your day or vent, if needed.
  • Watch your favorite show for a good laugh.
  • Read a book to get someone else’s point of view.
  • Take a nap to regain energy.
  • Write how you are feeling in a journal.


Distractions may work for a short time.  Ultimately you must dig deeper to understand why you turn to food in hard times.


I am here to help you.  I can help you work out your emotions and teach you ways to deal with them that do not involve food.  I can teach you to listen to your body’s hunger cues and eat only when you are experiencing physical hunger.  Take care of yourself by being in tune with your emotions. Dealing with them now instead of letting them build up will benefit you and your overall health.


Contact me here if you’d like to chat.

5 Tips to Help You Eat Less

If you’ve been working on losing weight by following diet plans, you are probably eating a certain amount of food that the diet tells you to eat. But the truth is, there are other strategies that you can use to help you eat less.


Learn about those strategies on this week’s episode of The Diet Free Zone Show™.


Just click the image below.

5 Tips to eat less







After you watch the show, please leave your comments below and let me know which tip works best for you.