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Slow Down to Reach Your Nutritional Goals This Holiday Season

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Welcome to October!

We are getting ever closer to the hustle, bustle, and eating of the holiday season. Now is the time to build a strong nutritional foundation that will support your health and fitness goals through the holidays.

Back in September, I encouraged you to start practicing portion control (click here to review that post). Keeping portion sizes within reasonable limits is one of the best ways to stay on track with your nutritional goals. If you practice only 1 nutritional habit the rest of the year this is it.

With that being said, this month I would like to introduce you to a second habit that when combined with portion control will help you stay on track through the holidays.

It is a pretty simple tip: Eat Slowly!

So why eat slowly?
As I pointed out in a recent post, Eating Mindfully Can Help You Reach Your Health Goals, it takes 20 minutes for the body to realize it is full. When you grab a meal and eat it as quickly as possible in your car on the way to your next appointment, you don’t give your mind or your body the opportunity to register and respond to what you have eaten. Often you are left wondering, “Did I just eat?” or “I think I am still hungry.” You can’t remember exactly what you ate or how it tasted. You may even be tempted to eat again. Research tells us that eating too quickly, frequently leads to consuming too many low quality, high calorie foods which can spell disaster for your diet and health goals.

Fortunately, by taking the time to eat slowly and mindfully we can avert this disaster and stay on track with our good nutritional habits.

Right now you may be thinking to yourself,”Rachel, I can’t take 20 minutes to eat every meal.” Well, I’m not saying you need to spend 20 minutes eating, I am simply encouraging you to slow down a little bit with each meal and take the time to enjoy the experience of eating. Savor the tastes, feel the texture, breath in the scents of your food even if it is for just a few moments. Acknowledge and honor the act of eating.

So, how can you translate this habit into holiday eating situations? Rather than standing around at a holiday party mindlessly nibbling away on all of the yummy treats, sipping wine, and chatting away with friends, take a few minutes to portion out a reasonable amount of your favorites, walk away from the food area, and engage in a conversation with friends. Let the conversation provide a break in the eating cycle. Talk for awhile, have a bite or two, talk a little more… Let eating and savoring become part of the holiday party experience.

By practicing slow, mindful eating throughout the holidays you can ensure that you stay on track with your health and wellness goals!

Until next time, have a happy healthy day!

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