“Minding” Your Body Gives You More Calm & Less Stress!
With the Holiday season in full swing now, I’m sure there are many opportunities to find yourself surrounded by either large quantities of food or foods you might not normally eat or at least not eat much of.
With the festive atmosphere and the holiday cheer going around, it’s almost too easy to keep eating even when you are no longer hungry. There’s so many choices, good conversations, and “what the heck, it’s the holidays” attitude.
Although, it certainly is no crime to eat festive foods you normally don’t eat much of the rest of the year, it can also bring on additional stress of the season, as you find yourself wondering how you are going to handle the tendency to overeat and over indulge at this time of the year.
Perhaps, your stressful thoughts are focused on how desperately you want not to gain any more weight, as you know you really want to get rid of the excessive baggage and here comes all these tempting foods you find so hard to resist.
You want to attend these parties, but you’re afraid of over indulging and over eating.
Instead of stressing out, take time to “mind” your body.
It’s really quite simple.
Unfortunately, in our culture, we are generally not taught to tune in and pay attention to how our body feels. Instead, we fill it up with all sorts of foods, drink lots of liquids and before you know it, we’re stuffed…just like that Thanksgiving Turkey. And then we wonder how it happened!
Then, not only are we stressed with our behavior, our bodies feel stressed from the overload of food and drinks, as well.
You can change this habit of stress this holiday season.
It’s a simple technique. It allows you to tune in to your body by using your mind.
And it starts with your imagination.
Image a gauge
This technique requires you to simply STOP, take a deep breath or two, and tune in to your body.
Then, imagine that there is a gauge in your mind with the numbers 1-5.
This gauge can be round, straight or any other shape you might create.
1 means very hungry, those gnawing feelings in your belly,
5 is full, no room for anymore food at all. It is almost uncomfortable.
Beyond 5 is the Thanksgiving meal where you can’t even move. Don’t go there!!
Now just ask your body what number your gauge is at. I know this may seem strange, but it can be as simple as saying to yourself, “what number is my gauge at?” or “how hungry am I?” and just go with the first number that comes up.
You are accessing your inner resources now. The answer is there within you. You just need to pay attention and intend to get an answer!
I know this is an area where most of us are a bit rusty.
We’re not accustomed to trusting our instincts, intuition or our inner voice.
But I encourage you to give it a try and with practice, it actually gets easier and you’ll feel more connected to your body and its needs, as opposed to feeling unconscious and disconnected from your behavior around food and eating.
If it’s at 3 for example, and you’re thinking of having a second helping or going back around that buffet table, perhaps you might want to stop eating at this point, or just take one or two more bitefuls, then re-evaluate where your hunger-satisfaction gauge is at.
Use this gauge as soon as you begin to think about eating, as well. Are you really hungry, are you at a 1 or 2 or are you at a 4 and eating out of obligation, feeling self conscious, or due to some other emotion?
Practice it every day at every meal, then test it out this holiday season at parties, luncheons and dinners.
Give yourself the gift of minding your body, and you will feel more calm and less stressed about those holiday parties, the food that goes along with them and how it will all work with your body!
If nothing else, you will become aware of how you might be using food to compensate for other needs.
This could even be a whole new start to your healthy goals for the New Year!
Here are some more affirmations (5 Strategies to Peace & Joy in 2012) to “mind” your body, feel more calm and less stressed this holiday season!
I remember to “mind” my body to assess if I’m hungry, satisfied or full.
I imagine a gauge with numbers that indicate whether I’m hungry, satisfied, or full.
I stop eating when my gauge reads “4”.
I take a good deep breath to assess my hunger-satisfaction gauge.
I am learning more and more how my body feels when it is satisfied and no longer needs or wants anymore food.
It feels good to be connected to my body.
I feel more calm to know I am tuned into my body and how it feels.
I am focused on feeling more calm and feeling good.
Keep practicing; keep rehearsing these “lines” and they’ll become second nature to you!
Wishing you lightness in your discoveries this Holiday Season!