December’s Healthy Habbit

6 Dec

Eat Mindfully, Be Thankful

Gingerbread Cookie Cutter

The twelfth Healthy Habits challenge: Eat mindfully, be thankful. Learn two ways—in this busy season and throughout the year—to find joy in food and to share that joy with others.


The last 11 of Cooking Light’s 12 Healthy Habits program  focused on the tangible and practical—better diet choices, more exercise, and cooking. The last Healthy Habit is less about doing and more about being—being mindful and thankful in a season that, despite the barrage of commercialism, is still about both of those values. The two themes are interconnected. Mindfulness can help lower the anxiety associated with food during the holidays, a time when food should be about unity, love, friendships, and family but is often a source of stress.  Second, thankfulness brings the “giving” theme back to center stage, because the natural by-product of a thankful attitude is a desire to share with others. Both are part of a healthy, well-rounded life all year-long. But in this busy season, it takes a little extra mindfulness to keep them a priority.

Guide to Mindful Eating:

1.  Inhale and exhale. Meditation tradition focuses so obsessively on the breath: Slow, deep, even breathing tells the brain stem to put the entire brain into a state of calm. Take five deep in-and-out breaths after you sit down at the table and before you lift your fork.

2.  Give thanks. If you’re focused on gratitude, the stress can’t take over. Gratitude stops addictive patterns in the brain. After your five deep breaths, allow yourself a moment of gratitude, silent reflection, or prayer for the food you are about to eat.

3.  All food is good. Remove “good” and “bad” from your food vocabulary. You can’t completely enjoy a piece of cake if you’re telling yourself it is bad for you. There is no such thing as a bad or wrong food, if you get rid of the judgmental language around food, it becomes less stressful. When making food decisions, try replacing “I should” or “I shouldn’t” with “I choose to.”

4.  Replay frustrating situations. When you do find yourself mindlessly eating or reacting to stress by reaching for something sweet or salty (it does happen to everyone), forgive yourself and move on. Because we tend to remember what we did wrong, it helps to replay it in your  mind with a different outcome, it’s a way of rehearsing that behavior so it replicates more easily. Instead of mentally putting yourself through the ringer, replay the situation in your head again. You went overboard with the cheese board or the cocktail bar, and you’re unhappy. Replay the scenario, only this time you’re taking a bite or sip, enjoying it slowly, and truly savoring every flavor.

5.  Enjoy what’s on your plate. Never eat anything you don’t enjoy, and truly enjoy everything you eat. Take the first four bites of your meals slowly and with full attention on the food: Savor the flavors and textures so that you can begin to understand what mindful eating feels like.

mindful eating

The holiday season has generally become an overindulgent one.  We find ourselves consumed with buying the best gift, spending a lot of money on the best dinner and spirits, or eating as much as we want and whatever we want. Particularly, food around the holidays can be quite stressful for some people physically and mentally.

Pause for a moment amid crazy schedules to appreciate the joy surrounding you this holiday.

pink lips WITH SIGNITURE words above it


2 Responses to “December’s Healthy Habbit”

  1. lovefromtara December 6, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    I love this 🙂 I’m featuring Christmas guest blogs right up until Christmas eve if you’re interested in me featuring this, let me know what you think 🙂

    • Lips, Hips and Fashion Tips! December 6, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

      I would love that! I’m such a fan of Cooking Lights Healthy Habits…simple things that anyone can do. Thanks for stopping by!

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