Mindfulness this Christmas


Mindful eating at Reset Health Dietitians


We’re once again in a celebratory time of the year with Christmas just around the corner. While this is such a wonderful time to spend with friends and family, a lot of our clients the past two weeks are stressed beyond words. In between long to-do lists and busy schedules (and of course loadshedding) it sure is difficult to stay on track with eating healthy. Turning to emotional eating as a coping strategy is so common and understandable – especially with the typical abundance of food this time of the year.

Emotional eating occurs when you turn to food for comfort, stress relief, or as a reward, rather than to satisfy hunger. Emotional eating often goes together with a powerless feeling of being unable to control any food cravings and resist the urge to eat in excess. Using food from time to time as a reward or to celebrate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But when eating is your primary emotional coping mechanism – when your first impulse is to open the refrigerator whenever you are upset, angry, lonely, stressed, exhausted or bored – you may be stuck in the unhealthy cycle where the real feeling or problem is never addressed.

The reality is, emotional upsets cannot be cured by food. Eating may feel good for the moment, but the feelings that triggered the eating are still there and eating in excess or over indulging may actually make you feel more guilty, sad or depressed.


An easy starting point to determine if you are an emotional eater is to ask yourself the following simple questions. If you answer yes to 2 or more of the following questions, consider yourself an emotional eater.

  • Do you eat more when you are feeling stressed?
  • Do you eat when you are not hungry or when you are full?
  • Do you eat to feel better (to calm or soothe yourself when you are sad, mad, bored and anxious)?
  • Do you reward yourself with food?
  • Do you continue to eat beyond a normal satiety level?
  • Does food make you feel safe?
  • Do you feel powerless and out of control around food?


If you feel that you struggle with emotional eating there are many options to consider. As dietitians we examine the way our clients eat in order to help identify areas in their diet that are contributing the unhealthful eating patterns. Additionally, we like to coach our clients about practicing mindful eating.

Mindfulness refers to the practice of being aware and in the moment. All too often, our thoughts wander somewhere other than where we are in the moment. Perhaps we are preoccupied with what happened an hour ago, worried about what might happen tomorrow, or stressed over what we need to do next week.

Ask yourself the following questions? Where were you for dinner last night? What did you eat? Who joined you for the meal? What mood were you in when you came to the table? Did you enjoy what you ate and how did your food taste? What did you think about as you were eating?

Most days we would struggle to answer these simple questions. Mindfulness encourages us to notice these preoccupations, and then to gently bring ourselves back to the now. Interested in learning how you can become more mindful around food and mealtimes? Download our handy mindfulness pointers sheet to help you get started.


Mindful eating at Reset Health Dietitians

Download our Mindful Eating Guide


Need more in-depth help? Make an appointment with one of our dietitians in the New Year to start your journey towards resetting your health by starting with your diet.


Click to enquire about bookings


Wishing all our clients a Merry Christmas and looking forward to welcoming back familiar faces and meeting new ones in 2024!




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