Worried about managing your eating this holiday season? Keep these tips in mind

You’ve made it through one of the most anxiety-inducing nine months in memory, and you’ve managed to lose your coronavirus pandemic pounds of weight gain as well.

Now, the holidays are here. And you’ve resolved to make them healthy.

Not only did you make Thanksgiving dinner following grandma’s recipes (which served 20), and you only had your immediate family at the table, you still have more holidays to go.

Registered dietitian Dr. Susan Mitchell has an idea: Eat mindfully.

And that doesn’t mean a yoga-style “ohm” before each bite or end the meal with “namaste.” (Though go ahead and do that, if you would like.)

What Mitchell is talking about is being aware of everything you’re eating. Take for example, a holiday chocolate bar with nuts and fruit. Yes, it’s sweet, bitter and wonderful, but before you know it, you’ve unwrapped it and scarfed it down.

What kind of nuts were they? What kind of dried fruit did you eat? Was the chocolate dark or milk?

“Be present at the moment and aware of your surroundings and the food that you eat,” said Mitchel. “When you do that, it makes you be so much more in control of food and how much of it you take in. Especially with all the food and the meals we’re going to be enjoying in the upcoming weeks.”

Let’s go back to that fantastic chocolate bar.

“Before it even goes into your mouth,” Mitchell said, “take a deep breath, look at it and say ‘mmm.’ What does it look like? What is the portion size? I refer to this as eye candy. How hungry are you? Do you need the whole piece? Will just a little bite or two do it for you?

“And then, No. 2, smell it. What do you notice? … Just taking time to practice these two simple tips will slow down how fast you eat and help you to be in control of the food instead of the food controlling you.”

And then, if you are going to a (socially distanced) event where there will be food or a special dinner (outdoors), prepare yourself ahead of time.

“When you go hungry, you will eat everything in sight and the door off the refrigerator,” said Mitchell. “The food is there; it looks great. So start by going with a small snack, with a little bit of protein, before you leave the house, which takes the edge off. You will eat less and feel more in control.”

WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.

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