4 Tips for Avoiding the BBQ Food Coma

 Photo via The Everygirl.

Photo via The Everygirl.

Hope your Memorial Day Weekend has felt relaxing and spacious. And that you’ve gotten to kick back at some point with something(s) that brings you pleasure: a good book, some amazing music, maybe some good ol' silence.

Today’s topic is one that so many of us wrestle with: how to not throw caution to the wind, so to speak, when it comes to eating at a BBQ or event. (Friends outside the U.S.: it’s a holiday weekend here, but these strategies will come in handy the next time you head to an event of your own!)

Holidays are a time when, whether we like it or not, our relationship with food comes under a microscope.

Between there being more food in front of us than usual (stimulating our senses), being around so many other people as you’re eating (various social dynamics at play), and the narrative of it being a “special occasion”…. holidays can feel like a real internal challenge on the food front.

Truth is, there are certain habits we can adopt that create exponential shifts in how we relate to food, helping us eat more mindfully and intuitively. No matter who we are or our history with food. 

These tools will help you:

  • Feel able to focus on conversation instead of food
  • Stop eating when you’re actually full
  • Naturally and (eventually) effortlessly choose foods that energize you
  • Eat just ONE bite of dessert instead of 30 (it can be done… I promise!)
  • And be able to get up from the table and never think about that meal again.

With that said, here are 4 of my top tips for avoiding the BBQ binge and eating more mindfully:

  1. Remember that the root of the issue isn’t the binge eating, it’s the restriction. I call this the Pink Elephant Effect. When I tell you: “DON’T think about the pink elephant,” what’s all that you can think about? Same goes for carbs, sugar, and any other food we deem as off limits. They get built up in our minds and become such a point of fixation that when our willpower inevitably runs out, we dive in headfirst. So, if we want to release binge eating, it becomes about letting go of that restriction (so much easier said than done!) in favor of adopting what I call a nourishment paradigm. Learning to live healthy because we’re in love with life, using our bodies as the ultimate sources of wisdom as to how to eat, move, and live. Letting go of restriction in favor of nourishment is no doubt a huge task – it’s the task, in fact – but for that reason, it had to be #1 :) This process is what we dive into in my online program, Nourish.
  2. Focus on eating protein. Make sure you get at least a serving (4 oz cooked or around a fist size for women) per meal of protein to keep your blood sugar stable and stay satiated. And make it delicious: add the relish, hot sauce, seasonings, sliced avocado, grilled onions… any low-sugar, less processed options to add a flavor punch.
  3. Keep your eyes on your own plate. We often look to others for permission to eat that which we’re craving or to otherwise triangulate what we should be eating. This is a recipe for making choices that are not in alignment with what you and your body truly want. Think about it: it’s a random mixture of other people’s opinions, food philosophies, and possibly second-guessings. There’s no true information there. When you notice yourself looking to others, remind yourself: “Eyes on my own plate!” and continue making choices based on your own process and wisdom.
  4. Take a moment to fully arrive in the moment of eating before you pick up your fork. When we’re distracted and not present while eating, we don’t fully experience our food and take in the pleasure that it has to offer. The result? We end up wanting more and more. So, to fully arrive in the moment, sit down with your plate and pause. Put your focus on getting present (this is easiest done by connecting with the 5 senses), looking at your food and noticing all of the colors, textures and smells. Then, take 5-10 rounds of breath in and out of your nose. When you feel yourself feeling more present and aware, pick up that fork and enjoy! 

I hope this inspires you approach food with curiosity today. Til next time...

Love and light,
Valerie