When Holidays are Hard

Tips for coping with a food-centric season

Family Features | 11/27/2019, 6:15 p.m.
During the holidays, no matter where you turn, you find food, food and more food. From vendor treats filling the ...

Learn more and find options for treatment at centerfordiscovery.com

Supporting a Loved One

Watching someone you care for battle an eating disorder can be emotionally challenging, but your love and support can make a big difference during the stressful holiday season with these tips from the experts at Center for Discovery:

• If you’re uncertain how you can help, just ask then be prepared to listen without judgment.

• Make it clear you are willing to be a sounding board or assist your loved one in getting to a safe place if he or she is triggered during an event.

• Voice concerns privately. Public comments about weight, body shape or food choices can only exacerbate the angst your loved one is feeling, and when you put him or her on the defensive, he or she is less likely to be receptive to your genuine concern.

Mindful Eating Tips

These simple steps can help you rediscover your natural intuition about food and hunger. These tips can be used all in one meal or you can choose one tip at a time to focus on. When you feel you have mastered one, try a new one. Over time, eating mindfully can become second nature.

1. Practice mindfulness: Start by eating one meal a day in a slower, more aware manner.

2. Hunger check: Before eating, check in with yourself to determine how hungry you are. Are you hungry enough for a meal or just a snack?

3. Emotional check: What are you feeling? Are you happy, content, stressed, bored or something different?

4. Senses check: What type of food are you hungry for? Do you want savory, sweet or salty? Do you want something hot or cold?

5. Time check: Do you have time to sit and savor? Or are you crunched for time?

6. Time crunch: Planning to nourish your body is an act of mindfulness. Taking the time to grab some food or packing food to eat on the go is being mindful that your body needs fuel.

7. Focus: Concentrate on the meal in front of you. Avoid doing other activities while you eat such as working, talking on the phone, watching TV, driving or reading.

8. Savor: While eating, notice the colors, smells, flavors and textures of the food.

9. Food awareness: Notice your reaction to the food you are eating. What do you like, what don’t you like? If you are enjoying your food, savor it. If you don’t like your food, choose something more appealing.

10. Patience and grace: Mindful eating is a practice that takes time to learn and develop. Since there is no judgment in mindful eating, give yourself grace and patience as you learn.