Can you believe that the holidays are very nearly here?

The year is coming to an end and for many people the holidays can be a recipe for disaster. The stress and overwhelm associated with family reunions, hosting guests, parties and holiday meals can send you into a stress eating whirlwind.

Mindful eating is your key to keeping your composure.

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While you prepare for your plans this holiday season, keep the following tips in mind as you celebrate with friends and family.

1. Don’t skip breakfast

Though it may seem like a good idea to skip your first meal to save room for the avalanche of food that is about to come, this tactic can backfire.

Letting yourself go hours without food will leave you famished and a famished state will only lead to eating more than your stomach can handle. Instead of ditching breakfast altogether, aim for a healthy snack that will keep you satisfied until the appetizers arrive.

2. Pace yourself with the appetizers

If there are hors d’œuvres being served before dinner, go ahead and have some. But remind yourself that dinner is still on the way. Perhaps one or two appetizers will be just enough to enjoy without feeling deprived.

3. Savor each of the foods on your dinner plate

Take the time to really taste each bite. Get a feel for the textures, smells and colors that contribute to the flavor. Check in periodically with your hunger and satiety signals and stop eating when you are comfortably full.

4. Instead of letting the season become centered around food, focus on non-food satisfaction that will keep you happy and away from overeating.

Catch up with your aunt that you haven’t seen in a while, play some games with the kids, or help the host with set up and clean up.

5. Set your fork down between bites

mindful eating_2This is a good way to let your stomach decide if it’s full or not. It takes time for the food in your stomach to send signals to your brain to let your body know that you are full.

The more you let your fullness cues work, the easier it will be to tap into your fullness signals in the future. This will also be a great opportunity to tell stories at the table.

6. Drink plenty of water

7. Even though the apple cider sounds appealing, it is calorically dense and high in sugar

Keep the portion small and then drink water for the rest of the meal.

8. If it’s your turn to host Thanksgiving, try not to overcook!

Give thought to how many guests you are having and plan out the proper quantity of food. Pesky leftovers can lead to overeating the next day. Consider sending your guests home with some leftovers in plastic containers, they will be thankful.

The holiday season seems to be a day designated for socially acceptable overeating. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Spare yourself the agony of unbuttoning your pants and promising to never eat again. For help on managing the holiday stress and overwhelm and to overcome stress eating, click here.

Connect with Expert Bonnie Giller

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