Despite the last six weeks of traveling to Portland, the Poconos, NYC and now Pittsburgh for some R&R with family, my portions continue to mirror my at-home meals.
With the last hurrah of summer non-routines upon us, I want to share with you what keeps me on track with portions despite being out of a routine. Good news: you don’t need to obsess over whether your protein resembles a deck of cards.
Before I get to that, a Truce with Food™ update: you can opt-in for early-bird registration here for the October program. Only those on this list will receive a special discount offer and be the first to know about this round of Master Class teachers who will offer their expertise, as well as other exciting details before everyone else.
Ok, now onto portion control…..
Have you ever noticed portion control tips are always logical? Tell the waiter not to bring the bread basket! Chew slowly! But here’s the reality: what you are feeling will guide whether you choose to implement this logic.
Summer soirées are designed to shake things up. When it comes to food, this freedom can make you feel nervous, because you aren’t usually around so many tempting choices, especially with so much downtime. Or, strong judgments about what defines bad food also brings on sudden feelings of not caring, which is usually the unconscious feeling of dieting rule rebellion. Both feelings obliterate the logic of portion tips and tricks.
When craving a summer escape, it’s important to ground yourself in what feels familiar and safe off your plate, particularly concerning social interaction and the experiences of your senses.
People often overeat to ground themselves. That overly full stomach or decadent taste is a physical sensation of which many of us are deprived due to the environment of a virtual work and social world which involves much more mental, rather than physical, effort. This includes being rusty on real world socializing and being seen beyond a well-angled Facebook photo. In the same way a mindfulness practice can focus on the comfort of returning to your breath—to the now—overeating becomes a distorted way to return to the body, to the present.
As you head out to the food bonanzas that exist everywhere social gatherings occur, here are some ways to ground yourself that don’t involve overeating:
- At picnics and BBQ’s, eat with the people whose company you enjoy so much that if you could wave a magic wand, they would live next door to you.
- When eating out, sit next to the person you can laugh with the most or where great conversation flows.
- When visiting relatives or friends, spend time rehashing and reliving great memories.
- When traveling to visit family, don’t plan every event around food. Try planning something outdoors. Being in nature is one of the fastest ways to feel grounded. Everyone will be more relaxed and pleasant. (Translation: tolerant for those with challenging families.)
- Observe the many dimensions of your meal and environment. The color. The smell. The beautiful summer breeze on your face. Feed your senses not your mental chatter.
When I ask my clients to think about when they eat when they are with their favorite people, they realize there are usually leftovers on the plate and no desire for dessert. They didn’t feel borderline “tempted” to over indulge either.
If you think back to your own best meals, chances are it wasn’t just the food that influenced your fond memories. It was the ambiance, the company and the recognition that you were alive with multi-sensory comfort.
Yes, make healthy choices. Bring your own gluten-free, sugar-free dessert. But also ground yourself by connecting with your senses, environment and the comfortable fit of down-to-earth people.
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