As we approach the holiday season, food takes center stage, becoming the star of the show. With parties galore, social commitments and traditional feasts, it is important to have a strategy that finds room for fun, yet structure to help us stay on track during this busy time.
One way to tackle this is through a concept called, mindful eating. Let’s break it down, so that you can understand the science behind why this is the ultimate party trick.
We have two hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is our hunger hormone, and leptin is our appetite suppressor. It takes about 20 minutes for these hunger hormones to talk to each other. If you aren’t giving yourself at least this amount of time to eat a meal, most likely you are overeating.
Tips: Set a timer, and give yourself 20 minutes to eat your next meal. Remove all devices, so that you are fully engaged in your meal. Pay attention to how you chew your food. Breaking down food properly aids in digestion.
Tune into Hunger Cues:
Understand why you are hungry. Boredom, stress and habit are all culprits of unnecessary snack time.
Tips: Aim to eat meals at three- to four-hour increments throughout the day. Exercise calls for an increased appetite, so account for that in your hunger cues. Listen to your body. Is your stomach growling? Are you feeling low energy? Do you feel tired and weak? These are all cues that you may need to feed it.
Meals over Snacks:
Focus on meals and not just snacks throughout the day to ensure you are getting enough protein, vegetables and healthy fat.
Tips: Being prepared for the day from a food perspective will ensure that you are happy, energized and fueling properly. Prep easy foods to make quick meals at home, such as hard boiled eggs and chopped raw vegetables, and cook extra protein at dinner to have for lunch the next day. Plan your day, so that your meals are at home, or pack your meal if you need to be on-the-go. Bring a mini cooler for you and your kids.
Laurel Famigletti is an area resident and owner of EndorP.H.I.T, where she provides virtual group fitness classes, in-home personal training and virtual nutrition coaching.