Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Thoughts Thursday

The countdown has begun – T minus seven days until Bird-day! Whether you’re having turkey, ham, pasta, a grilled cheese sandwich, a tofurky (a tofu turkey) or a turducken (a chicken stuffed into a duck, stuffed then into a turkey – don’t ask – who thinks up these things???)… you’ll probably be eating at some point in the day. As I said in yesterday’s post, the holiday can be a blessing and still be stressing!

I speak often with my clients about mindful eating – being intentional about our food intake, portion size, and eating when we’re hungry, not just because we’re bored or stressed. I found a great article on that I’d like to share with you today about eating mindfully. I HIGHLY recommend using to journal your food and activities. It’s a free website, and provides not only a calorie count for your food, but also provides a daily grade, info on fat/carbs/proteins, and can track your sodium intake, cholesterol, vitamins, sugar, and your weight. I use it daily myself. Did you know that people who consistently use a food journal double their weight loss chances?

The author of the article is Michelle May, M.D., the author of the book Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. This article is an excerpt from chapter six of that book.

Time to exercise your muscles of intentionality, just in time for Thanksgiving.



By Michelle May, M.D.

While this advice may seem counter-intuitive, this holiday season, experience maximal pleasure from all the wonderful food and special occasions. By eating mindfully you’ll eat less and enjoy it more. The key to mindful eating is to love what you eat. In other words, notice all the little details as if you were writing an article about your Thanksgiving meal for a gourmet magazine. The following tips are excerpted from chapter six of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat.

•Focus on the people you’re sharing your meal with. Engage in interesting conversations, ask questions, and really listen to your companions.

•Before eating, notice how hungry you are. If you aren’t hungry, become aware of the reasons you feel like eating anyway. If it is for social reasons, then be social for a while longer, knowing that there will be plenty of opportunities to eat when you get hungry.

•Decide how you want to feel when you’re done eating. Stuffed and miserable? Or comfortable and content? Then fill your plate (or order) accordingly.

•Mentally describe the table setting and the ambiance. Notice the aromas, colors, textures, and presentation of the meal.

•Before eating, take a moment to be truly thankful about where your food came from, including all the people who invested their time, effort, and talent to get it from farm to plate.

•Choose food carefully by asking yourself what you really want and need to eat. Don’t waste your appetite on cranberry sauce shaped like a can if you don’t love it!

•Put one small bite in your mouth. You only have taste buds on your tongue so the flavors of a large bite of food are lost on your teeth, cheeks, and the roof of your mouth.

•Notice the texture and flavors of the food on your tongue, then slowly begin to chew the food. Breathe while you chew since flavors other than salty, sweet, bitter, and sour actually come from the aromas.

•Set your fork down between bites. If you put a bite of food in your mouth then immediately begin to load your next forkful, your attention will be on the next bite. And if you are focused on the next bite of food instead of the one you are eating now, you won’t stop eating until there are no more forkfuls left to load.

•Sit for a moment and let the flavors and experience linger before you take the next bite.

•Notice as the food gently fills your stomach. Pause for several minutes in the middle of eating to reconnect with your hunger and fullness levels and enjoyment of the meal.

•Food is abundant this time of year (actually, year round for most of us!). Remind yourself that you can eat more later or at another meal so there’s no need to eat as though food was scarce. When you eat it all now, you risk ruining an enjoyable meal by being too full. Mindful eating is a great way to enjoy Thanksgiving and other meals more while eating less. You’ll be thankful that you did!

You can find the article at:

1 comment:

  1. Good, GOOD stuff here, Linda. A lot of it sounds familiar, like what we learned from our study of Linda Mintle's 'Press Pause Before You Eat.' I hope to stay mindful this Thanksgiving. There's nothing worse than trying to clean up the table afterwards when you look and feel like Jabba the Hut!

    As always, thanks for posting this! :)