Eating Mindfully During the Holidays

The holidays are a time where most people eat more than they normally would. But do you know the risks associated with doing so? Do you know of other options? This article reviews mindful eating strategies that you can implement immediately to improve your holiday food woes.

In an article written by the New York Times some relatively important statistics were found based off of holiday eating routines and weight gain. This article found that


  • Media stories suggests that the average person gains 7 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • The average person reports that they gain about five pounds this time of year.
  • Other studies show that the average weight gain during the winter holidays is just one pound, but that most people do not loose that one pound. Since the average weight gain during adulthood is about one to two pounds a year, that means much of midlife weight gain can be explained by holiday eating.
  • Overweight people gain 5 lbs or more during this time of year.


While it is important to have a healthy body image during all times of year, it is important to be healthy as well. Excess weight may increase the risk for many health problems, including

  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease and strokes
  • certain types of cancer
  • sleep apnea
  • osteoarthritis
  • fatty liver disease
  • kidney disease
  • pregnancy problems, such as high blood sugar during pregnancy, high blood pressure, and increased risk for cesarean delivery (C-section)


One strategy that you can use to monitor weight gain during the holidays, is to incorporate mindfulness.  Mindful eating is a technique that helps you gain control over your eating habits. It has been shown to promote weight loss, reduce binge eating, and help you feel better.


Here’s a mindful eating script below to help you manage mindful eating during the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving!





Begin by connecting to your breath and body, feel your feet on the ground and notice your
experience in this moment. With your awareness in this moment, notice any thoughts, sensations
or emotions you are experiencing. (Pause)

Tune into the awareness or sensation that you have in your body of feeling hungry, thirsty or
maybe even feeling full. If you were going to eat or drink something right now, what is your body
hungry for? What is it thirsty for? Just pay attention and notice with awareness the sensations that
give you this information. (Pause)

Now, bring your attention to the item in your hand and imagine that you are seeing it for the first
time. Observe with curiosity as you pay attention and notice the color, shape, texture, and size. Is
there anything else that you notice, sense or feel? (Pause)

Imagine what it took for this item to get to your hands: sunshine, water, time, processing, and
shipping. You may choose to be aware of gratitude for everyone involved in the cultivation and
preparation of this item of food. You may choose to bring in your own gratitude or spiritual
blessing. (Pause)

Now place the item between your fingers and feel the texture, temperature and ridges. You may
notice smoothness or stickiness. Again, notice if you have any thoughts, sensations or emotions at
this time. Continue to breathe and be fully present in this moment. (Pause)

Take the piece of food and bring it toward your nose and smell with your full awareness. Notice if
you have any memories, sensations or reactions in your body. Even before you eat it, you may
notice that you begin to have a digestive response in your body just by noticing and smelling.

With full awareness of your hand moving toward your mouth, place the object (fruit or chocolate)
into your mouth without chewing or swallowing it. Just allow it to be in your mouth, roll it around
to different parts of your mouth and tongue. Notice the flavor and texture. Notice the physical
sensations within your body, especially your mouth and your gut. Continue to breathe as you
explore the sensation of having this item in your mouth. (Pause)

Next take just one bite and notice the flavor, notice the change of texture. Then very slowly begin
to chew this piece of food, and notice the parts of your mouth that are involved in chewing. Notice
the sound and movement of chewing, as you continue to notice the sensations and flavor. (Pause)

When you are ready, swallow this item and notice the path that it follows from your mouth and
throat into your stomach. Notice the sensation and taste that may linger in your mouth. Connect
again to your body and your breath and notice your experience in this moment. (Pause)
Next, I invite you to pick up another food item, and choose to eat it however you wish. Noticing
your choice and your experience. Notice how it is similar or different. (Pause for 30-60 seconds,
and then return to large group discussion about the experience).


Mindfulness is a skill that may require assistance. If we can help in any way, please let us know.


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