This article was orginally written for Grandparentslink.com, by Pam Siegel, MPH, MFT, and grandmother extraordinaire*
Remember… your grandchildren are watching. They see what you eat, how you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat. Think about your eating habits, especially now with all the holiday goodies. You are modeling behavior. With that in mind, consider these guidelines…
1. Slow down and pay attention to your hunger or fullness.
2. Assess whether it’s emotional (head) hunger or physical (stomach) hunger.
3. Pause before eating and ask yourself, “What am I really hungry for?” Is it food or companionship? If it’s food, do I want warm or cold, sweet or salty? Really check in.
4. Focus on the process of eating: putting the food on a plate, using a fork to bring it into your mouth, chewing and swallowing.
5. Use your senses to really taste and savor the food…see, smell, touch, and taste.
6. Notice your feelings about the food. Is there guilt, judgment, anxiety or shame?
7. Be aware of distractions while eating. Put away cell phones, television, books, magazines, and just focus on your eating.
8. Set up areas in your home for mindful eating.
9. Eat at least one meal per day sitting down at a table… no eating at the refrigerator or standing in the kitchen.
10. Be aware of picking food while cooking or preparing for grandkids, and no eating in the car unless you pull over and concentrate.
*Pam Siegel M.P.H., M.F.T. is a psychotherapist in West Los Angeles specializing in mindfulness practices to help with eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and other life stresses and transitions. For more information, visit www.pamsiegel.com