Bring Your Sensible Body to the Party- How to Indulge Without Over-Indulging.

Bring Your Sensible Body to the Party- How to Indulge Without Over-Indulging.
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The holidays come around every year. And, each year, we have a chance to fine tune our participation. What if there was a way to indulge in all the bountiful delights without the distraction, weight gain and headache of over-indulgence? To pull this off, all you need to do is pay attention and apply the pleasure v pain principle.

The delicious flavors and textures of holiday fare are definitely part of the pleasure. But, going overboard with sweets and second helpings puts you at risk for craving, bloating, digestive unrest, skin eruptions, and mood swings. These are definitely painful. If you want to indulge without over-indulging, just listen to your sensible body. From your body’s point of view, pleasure is all about sensual awareness. As you approach the season ahead, it simply makes sense to make good choices, enjoy them thoroughly, and back away when satiated. As Julia Childs used to say: "Everything in moderation…. Even excess!”

Here are some ways to bring your sensible body to the party:

· Savor the Flavor. When you’re in feasting mode, be present in the moment and thoroughly enjoy the presentation and gustatory delight of each offering.

· Take a deep breath. Ninety percent of the taste is sourced in the smell. Aroma is also linked to memory and emotion. Let the smells of roasted nuts, cinnamon and pastry be a reminder of the sweetness in life.

· Slow down. Linger a bit. Take time to chew every morsel, letting the experience of richness pass over your taste buds, over and over. Beyond getting the most from each delicious bite, chewing thoroughly is the first step of digestion and experts suggest we eat less when we chew more.

· Less is more- It’s the first couple of bites that really taste good and overdoing it doesn’t give more pleasure. It just makes your body feel bloated and unhappy. Check it out for yourself. Do you experience “palate fatigue” after 3 or 4 bites?

· Listen- When your belly says it’s had enough, pay attention. Don’t ignore your body and over-indulge because it won’t really be fun anymore. A 2017 research paper suggests that satiation depends on a person’s “awareness of, attention to, and perception of internal (or bodily) signals.”

· Keep an eye on sugar consumption-If you have an eggnog before dinner and plan to have a brandy afterwards, pass on the jelly donut or pecan pie. Notice when the balance tips and, the next day, you’re craving the next sugary bit. Then, back it off with a carrot or apple.

· Take time to digest. The rule of thumb is to allow two or three hours before bedtime for digestion. Maybe an evening meditation recounting the many pleasures of the meal is in order.

Paying attention to your sensible body means making the distinction between being eating to experience the party and eating to avoid the party. When you let your sensible body be the guide, you’ll appreciate all the joys of the season- the traditional treats, the warm glow of candlelight, the sounds of holiday music, and the good feeling of convivial gatherings. Filling up on present-day sensual pleasure is both deeply satisfying and comforting. When you get sidelined by an emotional agenda, you’re apt to miss the party altogether and end up dissatisfied and disappointed.

As I cruise through this year’s calendar of holiday events, I plan to let my sensible body lead the way. But, I’m not naïve. There may be times when good intentions get sidelined by old behaviors and distractions. Then, my body will help me feel the result. Do I feel centered and refreshed or uncomfortable, restless, and depleted? Being body aware and applying the pleasure v pain principle is a good way to reinforce my resolve!

Why not bring your sensible body to the party this year? And, when the New Year comes around, share your experience and insights. I’d love to know how it went for you!

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