Reduce Holiday Stress and Stress Eating With Mindfulness.

The holidays are always so stressful.  One of the biggest issues my clients share with me is how stress eating takes over.

There has to be a way to resist feelings of stress induced by the season, keep our eyes on our fitness goals, and reject stress eating as coping mechanism.

Meditation is becoming increasingly popular, and, according to a study by Carnegie Melon Institute, has been shown to affects people’s ability to be resilient under stress.

And along similar lines, in a study by UCSF researchers published online in the Journal of Obesity, mastering simple mindful eating and stress-reduction techniques helped prevent weight gain even without dieting.

If the term “mindfulness” hasn’t entered your lexicon, let me explain it as briefly as possible.  Mindfulness is a way of being. We most associate it with yoga (where I learned it), though it’s roots run more deeply and diverse than just that.

You practice mindfulness usually in meditation or with mindful exercises like walking.  In mindfulness meditation, you sit still filling your senses and awareness of nothing but this moment.  You can think of that as reducing your present — just for a few moments — from multi-tasking to mono-tasking.  Usually the meditation is focused simply on your breath, the wave motion your body makes on each inhale and exhale, the way the breath feels entering, and exiting the nostrils .. you get the picture. There’s no judgment, no trying to squeeze out unwanted thoughts — you just let those go in a non-judgmental way.  It’s simply and totally focusing on accepting the moment.

As you can imagine, mindful eating requires that you put away the cell phone and Ipad, and silently focus on the experience of chewing and tasting food rather than scarfing it down.  This has shown to be beneficial for digestion as well as weight control.

You can read more about the science behind mindful meditation and why it makes you feel better here and you can get a little taste of it here.

As a trainer, I infuse mindfulness in my HIT sessions.  But more on that later.

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