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Mindful Eating: How to Avoid the Trap of Holiday Weight Gain

As the year comes to an end, we find ourselves tossed into one party after another. It is that time when you prepare your waistline for the feast that is yet to come, while trying to suppress the guilt of having your appetite run unbridled during the holidays. If you’re tired of feeling sorry every time you reality-check yourself come January, there are ways to cheat the scales. It’s what experts call, “mindful eating”, it allows you to enjoy the holiday food without compromising the fun!

The Holiday Grub

Research has shown that the average American gains a few kilograms during the winter holiday season, the time in between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. This phenomenon is nothing new since even here in Singapore, we all know how to complement the season with a sumptuous feast. If your conscience is in a constant limbo after all that you have enjoyed eating, maybe it’s time to change your game.

Yes, it is possible to have your cake and eat it too, and it has something to do with “mindful eating”.

Mindful Eating

Sometimes, it’s not what you eat that adds the pounds, but how you eat it. It’s easy to blame on all the rice, steak, or cakes for that matter, that we fail to notice our eating behaviour.

Take for example when you are munching away on your popcorn while watching a movie. While you are engrossed in the film, you barely even notice that you already found your way to the bottom of the bucket. This is the total opposite of what mindful eating is like. It can leave you eating more than you should have, but you are unable to control your portions because you are distracted.

Mindful eating is based on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, which means being fully aware of what is happening around and within you at that very moment. This technique is also used as a stress reliever and even alleviate health problems like high blood pressure and chronic gastrointestinal conditions.

Managing Holiday Meals

Having all these social gatherings in your social calendar require strategic planning. Eating through the holidays without feeling guilty doesn’t call for abstinence from your favorite foods. However, it requires you to be more conscious of what, when and how you are eating. Furthermore, you should also be more sensitive of how you could be potentially sabotaging yourself. Eating is no longer down for the purpose of satiating hunger but more of emotional comfort.

This should not take the fun out of all the holiday feast, it’s just to help you take charge with what you are eating without having to regret it afterwards. In fact it can help you to fully enjoy a meal and the whole experience of eating, but with moderation and restraint. Some studies even suggest that it can help improve eating habits, control binge-eating or stress eating, and it may even aid in weight loss.

Here are some tips on how to be cultivate mindfulness while you eat


When you have several dinner invitations lined up all the way till New Year, it’s good to have a strategic plan. Dr.  Keith- Thomas Ayoob, who is a director of the Nutrition Clinic of the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center in Montefiore shared in an article his “Rule of One“, which is to give yourself a scoop of each food you like and then move on. He also advised that with regard to portions, a hospital-sized serving would be a good standard.

It also helps to reflect upon how you feel and the reason why you are eating. Are you eating out of stress? sadness? boredom? or hunger? What do you want and what do you need? After you have taken time to reflect on what you want to eat, then you can decide if you really need to eat, what you need to eat and how you are going to satisfy that feeling.

Slow Down

The best way to enjoy a meal is to take it all in – the aroma, the flavours and the texture. Revel in each bite and put your fork down while you chew. Take a drink after each bite to give your body enough time to signal your brain that you are satisfied, although not necessarily full. Maybe we can take our cue from the French in this department as they are known to take their lovely time to eat. They take pleasure in eating by eating slowly, sipping on wine, and savoring every bite. This is more gentle on the stomach allowing it feel satisfied and able to digest the meal well.

Pay Attention

Give this exercise all the attention instead of getting yourself distracted by your phone, the TV or computer. This will easily cause you to lose track with all that you are taking in. A study claims that by paying more attention to your meal as you eat you stimulate the neurological activity that signals satiety and awareness of food intake.

Pick the Smaller Plate

The visual impact of food can affect your appetite. When you consciously want to cut down on your portions it helps that you pick a smaller plate. Doing so might help you crave less since you see less. When the office party call for a sumptuous buffet, this will make for a very smart strategy to stave off the temptation.

You may rush your Christmas shopping, but there is no need to do the same with your holiday meals. While you enjoy the party, make a conscious decision to enjoy the food as well. Just because you hopping from one party to the next, doesn’t mean that you’d be busting the scales next year.

Come and enjoy a meal with your family and friends at Tak Po this holiday season. Dine and reserve a table with us today to fill your senses with all our authentic handmade dishes