Mindfulness is not just a path to spiritual maturity. It’s the secret to enjoying the tasty treats of the holidays without overdoing it.
Around this time of the year, I often ask patients to delay their blood sugar and cholesterol blood tests for a good month after Christmas. If they go for their tests too soon after a series of holiday feasts and weeks of snacking from the naughty list of food choices, their numbers are bound to be too high and not reflective of the other 11 months of the year.
And then they will use the holidays as an excuse.
We have to be realistic . . . and humane. To enjoy the holidays and remain healthy, I tell my patients that moderation and balance are the keys.
If you choose to eat your favourite shortbread cookie or a Purdy’s chocolate, eat mindfully. Go slow and without distraction. Enjoy every little bite.
Consider that every food that’s not quite healthy has a cost – in calories, fat or salt. Be aware of that cost, and get good value for that cost. You wouldn’t gulp down caviar if you were paying for it. You would take your time and enjoy every penny of it.
Take your time with your holiday meal. There are several good reasons not to eat and talk at the same time.
I have seen families who have the habit (or tradition) of conversing with their mouths full of food – not just a nearly finished morsel in the corner of a cheek but molars fully engaged and cheeks bulging. They invariably get into a lot of arguments simply due to misunderstandings. It can be like trying to understand what a squirrel or chipmunk is saying. Chip and Dale may be two of the most confused and misunderstood Disney characters.
In these families, a member may indicate his plan to make a point by loading his mouth with a spoonful before saying it. That’s my indication to get ready to do the Heimlich maneuver.
So as you gather round your table to celebrate the season, the pleasure of good food and the blessing of our relationships, you can minimize risks to your health and your relationships by mindfulness.
Choose your bites and your words carefully . . . and separately.