During the holidays, you are more likely to come across articles talking about how to avoid weight gain or what exercises to do to burn off the potential calories you are about to consume. The holidays don’t have to be all or nothing. You don’t have to starve yourself to make space for big meals nor do you have to binge on food when you feel like you have already let go of the day.

As a health coach, I often get asked if it is okay to eat a little more during celebrations and parties. My answer is always a big, resounding yes. At a time when families get together to celebrate Christmas or any special holiday, it is okay to enjoy the moment and celebrate with your loved ones.

Now when we say that you can enjoy and eat whatever you want, it does not mean that you should be eating everything in sight. One of the best ways to stay healthy during the holidays is mindful and intuitive eating.


What is mindful and intuitive eating?
According to the Institute of Functional Medicine, mindful eating is the process of paying attention to your actual eating experience without judgement. Intuitive eating on the other hand, focuses on mind-body connection. It is when you are in touch with your body cues or signals like hunger, fullness, and satisfaction.

Here are five tips to remember as you start incorporating more mindful eating you’re your lifestyle during the holidays:

1. Listen to hunger cues / satiety cues.
Because of constant dieting and fad meal plans, we have somehow turned off our body’s hunger and satiety cues. We no longer know if we are truly hungry or already full. We should try to truly take the time to listen to our bodies. Before you eat, take a breath.

2. Emotional eating is an actual thing (and it is okay!).
Before reaching for the snack or the cake, ask yourself - am I really hungry or am I bored? Take a sip of water first and then reassess. If the hunger is still there, then have that snack. Enjoy it and be fully present in the moment. You may watch your portions especially when sugar is a concern. You will find that if you have less restrictions and are more intuitive with food, you are less likely to binge.

3. Eat to nourish.
If you are approaching each meal with the mindset of nourishing your body first, you are more likely to choose foods that are healthier. Nourishing foods are whole and unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruits, protein, and good fat.

4. Do not skip meals.
When you go to a party ravenous and very hungry, there is a big chance that you will end up eating more than you planned. Eat a light meal like a salad or some grilled vegetables beforehand so you can be more mindful of what you are eating at the party.

5. Forgive yourself when you have eaten more than you had wanted.
Eating a lot at one particular time does not negate all the great choices you’ve done with food. A mantra I always share with my clients when they find themselves in this situation is this:

“IT IS OKAY. Tomorrow is another day to make better choices for my body. I will honor the space that I am in right now. 


Listen to your body - it will always be your best coach. It will tell you when it is hungry or full. Listen to cues like pain and discomfort, as it is also your body’s way of communicating with you. Taking a breath and being mindful of the food in front of you is a great way to keep making healthy choices for your body even during the holidays.


If you have any questions or concerns on how to start your mindful eating practice, feel free to send me an email and book your Health Coaching sessions at kaysydynamics@gmail.com.

ALSO READ: Part 2: Planning Mindful Meals for the Holidays