The holidays are behind us and January is the traditional time we make our New Year’s Resolutions. After the excitement and rush of the holidays, January typically brings a slow period into our lives, a time when we take a deep breath and make an intention to focus on something that’s important for our self.
Typically, people make a resolution to lose weight. I’d like to propose that we expand this concept into practicing self-care, not just focusing on weight loss. By focusing on self-care, we choose to focus on addressing our stress, anxiety, overeating, binge eating, all those things that lead to us saying “my New Year’s resolution is to lose weight this year.” Most of our weight issues stem from our emotional eating habits – something that, most of the time, we might not even be aware of.
My favorite practice when assisting clients who suffer from emotional eating is to advise them to slow down. That’s right, eat slowly. When we eat too quickly and mindlessly, when our thought patterns are on everything else except the food that’s in front of us, we tend to overeat. Sometimes, we don’t even realize where all that food disappeared to but we are still left hungry, so we desire more food. Why is that? This is because our brain gets the signal too late (or sometimes not at all!) that we’re satisfied with our amount of food. In many cultures, eating is a sacred activity. We should start practicing this in our culture as well.
Mindful eating is the wonderful practice of eating every bite consciously and mindfully. Eliminate distractions, try to eat all your meals sitting down, try not to eat in front of the TV or concentrating on your smart phone... Engage all five of your senses. When you slow down the eating process, you will feel more satisfied, you will prevent overeating, your food will be digested better, you will feel satisfied, and best of all, you will know that you took the first step towards a constructive and lasting New Year’s Resolution.