The Doctors Next Door

How To Not Gain Weight Over the Holidays

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I wrote a piece on "mindfulness" a while back.  It turns out that there are many many applications for this valuable skill.  As it relates to eating, I can't possible cover this topic as well as my friend, Michelle May, MD can. Michelle is a fellow Family Physician who has conquered her obsession with food through a program of mindful eating. She now shares this acquired wisdom through her website, educational programs and books. You can learn more about her programs here with some great tips on how to avoid the "eat-repent-repeat cycle".

I have this wonderful new toy, a Kindle, and I tried to download Michelle's latest book but it's not yet available on Kindle.  So I'm going to have to break down, treck to the book store and buy it.  If you're interested, join me in reading it and we'll digest her pearls of wisdom together.  I plan a series of posts on the topic.  For now, I'll tell you what I understand so far about her approach to "mindful eating".

At the risk of shamelessly promoting her material, here's the book trailer for her new book, Eat What you Love, Love What You Eat.  Remember, I'm not one of those more fortunate bloggers that gets residuals from ANYONE.  So I'm just talking about Dr. May's book because I think it's really good material on a healthy approach to eating.  And at what other time do we need this most than with the holidays upon us?

Our culture's social activities surround good food.  Instead of dreading the need to "be good", Dr. May would tell us we need to focus on "feeling good" and how good food can support us instead of hindering us in that pursuit. Michelle gives some great advice in her blog post, Save the Stuffing for the Turkey: Eat Mindfully on Thanksgiving.

 Here are a few of her recommendations:

  • Focus on the people you're sharing your meal with. Engage in interesting conversations.
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    Ask questions and really listen to your companions. 
    Isn't this what it's all about after all?  This is nourishment for the soul.  Move your focus to that experience and see how it changes the whole day for you. 
  • Notice how hungry you are. If you aren't hungry yet, become aware of the reasons you feel like eating anyway. If it's for social reasons, then be social for awhile longer, then eat when you get hungry.  I'm afraid that many people in our society have totally forgotten the true sensation of hunger.  It's not "I have a taste for.." or "I feel like eating..." in the absence of a knawing, hollow physical sensation in the pit of your stomach.  Just once--try waiting for that sensation, really notice it and then eat just what you want until that sensation has resolved and NOT when you feel so full you're about to burst.
  • Decide how you want to feel when you're done eating. Stuffed and miserable? Or comfortable and content? Eating the right amount of food is not about being good but about feeling good. Fill your plate or order accordingly.
  • thanksgiving-plate.jpg
    Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1 Comment

    Michelle May MD said:

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    Thanks Dr. Carrie! As you know, I believe that learning to eat fearlessly and mindfully is the alternative to chronic yo-yo dieting! I'm sorry that Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle is not available on Kindle. Turns out that all the cool features and graphics in the book don't display in Kindle because it is still a text based tool. For those that want to read the book on their computer, you can download a pdf (or even read a sample chapter free) at http://www.amihungry.com/eat-what-you-love-book.shtml.

    I'm looking forward to your comments and comments from other readers as you all learn how to eat what you love and love what you eat!

    Michelle May, M.D.
    Author, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat
    www.AmIHungry.com

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