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Dear Self;

January 24, 2012 by Joanna Drake, Registered Dietitian

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Note to the reader: This posting is a part of the blog series on mindful eating.

Eating is so routine and easy that we can do it on autopilot. Mindful eating involves increasing our awareness of what, how, where, when and why we are eating.

Being more aware can enable us to step back into the pilot seat and resume control of our eating. We hope that you enjoy this series!

Dear Self,

It's that time again. Your New Year's resolutions are written and now it's time to do yourself proud by sticking with them for… longer than you did last year. If you are what you eat then you should love what you eat. Make the choice to enjoy your food and eat it guilt free. This is not only important for you, but also good role modelling for your children.

Stay focussed. It seems like there is always an occasion to celebrate, a dinner out or a meal in with friends. Don't get distracted and eat foods that don't interest you just to be polite or because they ‘re in front of you. Focus on the foods that you love and choose a healthful portion of them.

Slow down. There's no prize for finishing your dinner first. You will slow down and pay attention to what you ‘re eating. "Mindful eating" will help you to really appreciate all the wonderful flavours and textures you ‘re eating. You will be more satisfied overall and may also be content with eating less.

Free yourself. Feeling satisfied and full is a good thing. By allowing yourself to choose the foods that you want, you can better listen to your body's signals of hunger and fullness. You will be better at making decisions about how much to eat. Ask yourself if eating more will be more satisfying, or if you will just be too full. Licking your plate is rude.

Be active. Don't let the cold and rainy weather make you think "maybe tomorrow." Being active is one of the best things you can do for your health. Choosing activities you enjoy improves your chances of success at sticking with it. Remember you can always call the Physical Activity Line for ideas and inspiration on how to fit more activity into your day with kids.

Keep it all in balance. Like all lifestyle choices, remember that it's about what you do most of the time that counts. A full blown food affair at a special dinner out can be tempered by more moderate and nourishing meals through the day before and after. Skipping meals is not an option. You get cranky… or so you've heard.

Wow, that seems like a lot to do. What about if you just start small? Eating slower and practicing "mindful eating" is a great place to start. In the end, eating well doesn't have to weigh heavily on your mind. You can find harmony and balance. You can enjoy your food. You are what you eat.

Love,

Joanna

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