With endless white elephant parties, holiday cookies, and champagne toasts on the horizon, indulgence is simply an inevitability this time of year—and we wouldn't have it any other way. That said, even though we're willing to feel stuffed in the name of mom's stuffing, the resulting food coma doesn't have to be a total guarantee.
Practicing mindful eating is a really easy way to actually savor the season's treats more while feeling less like you overdid it—because by truly learning to relish every single bite, you're able to better observe how satisfied you actually are. Most importantly, it has nothing to do with dieting or restriction. To the contrary, mindful eating is about maximizing enjoyment.
And there's no time like the present to give it a go. "You can practice mindful eating at a dinner party, out to dinner, on a date, with family, or with friends," says meditation expert Amanda Gilbert. "As long as you are being aware while you are eating, then you are practicing mindful eating. And you can be aware and mindful even when eating with others."
Curious how to get started? Try Gilbert's mindful eating technique for beginners below.
The 3-part technique
Step 1: Mindful eating begins before you even put the food in your mouth. Start by observing the color, texture, and smell of the food on your plate. Then, "bring awareness to the utensil and the bite of food you are bringing up to your mouth to eat," says Gilbert.
Step 2: "Mindfully chew and savor the bite of food itself," says Gilbert. "Notice the aromas, textures, and pleasure of eating this one bite of food."
Step 3: Maintain that awareness as you swallow and put your utensil down. Then, repeat this technique again with the next bite of food.
"When you bring your mindful awareness to what you are about to eat, how you eat, and to how hungry or full you become, this greatly increases the possibility of making healthier eating choices," says Gilbert. "It also allows us to slow down and savor our food more so we do not end up overeating regularly." In other words, it's an easy way to ensure that you truly enjoy every bite this holiday season—"healthy" or not—and evade the token food coma afterward.