Merry and Mindful Holiday Eating

14 December 2016 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

Filed Under: Holiday Eating

It’s hard to believe that the year is coming to an end and the holidays are upon us! The holidays are like assorted sweets – there are some we like and some we don’t. For many people this time of year is difficult: we are out of our routine, we’re spending time with people we don’t normally spend time with, there are pressures and stresses around social engagements, there is much travelling and shopping. There is so much focus on food at this time of the year that many of us also struggle with overeating, worrying we will gain weight or about how we look.

Set an intention for the holidays

What type of holiday season do you want? What do you want to do? What don’t you want to do? Share this with the people sharing this time with you. Try and diversify your fun and pleasure – choose some non-food related activities.

Practice “inner wisdom” and “outer wisdom”

“Inner Wisdom” is how we are feeling physically, emotionally and mentally.

“Outer Wisdom” is being aware of the nutritional content of a meal and how the food will fuel your body. Try find a balance between eating foods that nourish your body and foods with zero nutritional value that you eat for the pure taste and experience.

When eating, just eat…

Whatever you eat, put it on a plate. Avoid picking at food or eating while standing up. Sit down. Pay attention to your food. Before eating, take a breath, chew your food and slooow right down. Eating with your full attention and not behind your own back will help you to enjoy and savour your food.

Practice The Pause

Pause before you eat. Pause before you spend. Pause before you react.

Eat your favourite food first

Survey the spread! Eat only what you want (not what others think you should eat or taste). If you don’t love what you are eating, leave it and rather eat something you love! I like to eat my favourite foods first and if there is space left, I will eat the other foods. For those of you who have dieted, you will know that we normally save the best for last, but by then we are over full.

Plan for food pushers

Those pesky food pushers try to please us by force feeding us and we try to please them by eating till we are stuffed! This is a lose-lose situation. The best approach with food pushers is to Delay, Distract , Decide and Determine…

  • Delay the eating;
  • Distract the pusher;
  • Decide if you will eat or not;
  • Determine what and how much, if you choose to eat.

You can read more about ways to deal with food pushers here.

Accept and Let Go

It is a season of unrealistic expectations on many levels. Accept that you will be triggered and that you will experience some negative emotions. You can choose to eat emotionally but try do it mindfully. It is a difficult time to eat mindfully ALL of the time. Accept that there will be meals where you overeat. There will be meals where you will overdo the sugar or refined foods. There will be occasions where you have a few drinks too many. It’s OK.

All or Nothing Thinking

Try and avoid all or nothing thinking, chances are this will lead to more overeating. Be aware of the switch that trips if you have overeaten at a meal, don’t think “oh well I have blown it so I might as well carry on overeating”. We are not perfect eaters.  No need to catastrophise! Take it meal by meal and bite by bite.

Be kind, patient and compassionate

When you overeat or overdo your fun foods, whatever you do DO NOT beat yourself up or feel guilty, this will only fuel overeating…

Have fun, rest and relax

After all, this is what the holidays are about! If you need more tips and strategies for the holiday season, read my blogs – “How to Survive the Holidays” and “Joyful Eating in the Holidays“.

May I
May You
May We All
Be Well, Be Safe, Be Healthy and Happy This Season

Love,
Xen.

go-a-little-slower

✨ Are you ready to heal your relationship with food? Book a free 30-minute mini session.

✨ Stressing about eating during the holidays? Check out my online How to Handle Eating in the Holidays course.

✨ Join my next 8-week group course starting in January: Food Freedom

“From our first meeting - two faces on Zoom across the world from each other, there was a sense of familiarity and comfort that was a healing balm for a lifetime of food struggles and dieting. Without realizing how much damage I had done to myself by adhering, for decades, to restrictive food plans and rigid diet programs, Xen had a way of redirecting the harsh and negative self-talk and sending me forth each week with compassion, mindfulness and a new way of seeing myself in the here and now. Gone are the maybe somedays, and if-only, and when-I’m-smaller thinking. Now I am committed to the imperfect and rocky path to listening to my body, accepting my perfect imperfections, and rejecting diet mentality. Those negative voices will revisit me from time to time, I know, but Xen has offered valuable tools for meeting each day as a fresh start - another choice, another chance. Her devotion to this work and her belief in her clients is a remarkable gift; I am so fortunate to have found her. It is never too late to let go of the drama and embrace joy, ease and self-acceptance.”

Karen L, Denver, USA

“I felt hopeless and helpless in my daily struggle with mindless eating for many years. Then I found Xen which is exactly what I needed! My decision to work with her helped me to finally repair my relationship with food. It's changing my life for the better, one day at a time. Now I have control over the food, instead of it having control over me, which is the way it should be. I highly recommend Xen to anyone who has a desire to overcome similar food struggles. Xen, thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

Karen J, Colorado, USA

“I reached out to Xenia because 2021 started on a tumultuous note for me. Between deaths, businesses suffering, hospitalizations, and job losses in our personal circle, I felt depleted and found myself being available for everyone but myself. Then I was hit with an unexpected health diagnosis, which was the last straw as it meant giving up “healthy foods” and workouts that I leaned on for my well-being and stability. Despite working in wellness (Yes, coaches and healers are vulnerable too!), I found myself reaching out to desserts for comfort. I like to live a life of permissions (not labels or deprivation leading to bingeing), so I wanted to work with someone who approached healing from a place of mindful compassion. I didn’t want to be my own client. Xenia was great in reminding me to be kind to myself. Working with her, brought me peace and helped shift my mindset. I love how desserts and I look at each other now.”

Sweta Vikram, New York, USA

“Working with Xenia was amazing. She armed me with a bunch of tools to help me through difficult times. Xenia is the kind of person who really cares for helping you in the long run. Her work will forever have an impact in my life.”

Daniela Velásquez, Ottawa, Canada

“Working with Xen was a game changer for me. After working together for a few months my relationship with food radically changed. I no longer felt like a failure. I now have the tools to nourish my body with foods that feel good in my body. I don’t feel guilty about eating cake or chocolate, I also don’t overeat cake and chocolate. I no longer feel the need to exercise to compensate for my eating. I feel much more free around eating and I am more accepting of my body. Xen has a nonjudgmental and compassionate approach to coaching and really supports you in the process.”

Rachel, Dublin, Ireland

“Working with Xen has been very empowering. Her approach is so refreshing from the usual. I have learned that I am in charge and that I get to choose what I put in my body and how to move my body in a way that I like! I get to make my own choices. It’s so liberating. Once you get a taste of freedom with food, there is no turning back to old ways! Thanks Xen for guiding me along the way to freedom.”

Heather B, Cork. Ireland

“This is the answer for those of you that struggle with food and all that surrounds it. Xenia said that I could make peace with food and it seemed at the time like an impossible dream. Turns out it isn’t. I recommend Xen and the mindful eating / intuitive eating approach unreservedly. If you have any questions about my experience, please get in touch. Thank you Xen. My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”

Michelle, Johannesburg, South Africa

“Xenia was a walking, living, breathing example of what can be done. I laughed and cried my way through a short course in this fascinating and invigorating programme with her, and have gained a designer tote full of coping skills that go way beyond containing kilogrammes. I feel infinitely lighter. I am doing this for me and, yes, you can do this for you too! And believe me, I’m cynical!”

Diana, Vancouver, Canada

“I don’t obsess about food like I used to. I am thinking differently about food and feeling so much more relaxed around all types of food. It’s wonderful to have pleasure and satisfaction from eating.”

Sarah, Illinois, USA

“I learned a new way of thinking about food. I have learned that food is not the enemy and that it can actually be enjoyed with no guilt.”

Sandy, London, United Kingdom

Certified by The Life Coach School Certified and Trained by The Original Intuitive Eating Pro Professional Member of The Center for Mindful Eating