Holiday Overeating: How Enjoying Your Food Can Limit Overindulging

A new study from Texas A & M International University says that on average, Americans consume 619 additional calories a day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s a lot of overeating.

What the study doesn’t explore is how much the average American enjoys those extra calories. Here’s a point to ponder this week. As you are facing the holiday treats, the cookie trays, and the calorie-laden celebrations, how much of the food that you eat are you completely savoring?

One of the excuses we give ourselves for indulging this time of year is that these are special, once-a-year treats. Are you tasting them—or are you mindlessly munching while focused on something else, having a conversation, or just-not-paying-attention?

My guess is that many of those 619 extra calories (per day!) are mindless calories that really aren’t enjoyed, relished, or savored. They are calories we eat because they are there.

My advice: if you are going to indulge, allow yourself to soak it up. Stop. Breathe deep. Taste your food.  Enjoy how it feels in your mouth. Stop before your next bite and ask yourself whether you really want it, whether you are hungry, and whether you are still savoring.

Take your time.

When you are done savoring, stop eating. There will be plenty of opportunities to savor again.

My clients who try this tend to discover two things. First, they enjoy their eating experience much more when they give it their full attention. Second, it’s difficult to overindulge when you interpret indulging as giving food your focused attention, savoring it completely, and stopping when the experience isn’t one hundred percent satisfying anymore.  Many are surprised to find how early on in their eating they actually stop savoring and are simply eating or “finishing” what is in front of them.

Care to try it out?  I’d love to hear what you think.

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