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How mindfulness can help keep those calories in check over the festive season

By Joseph Pond

The holiday season has already started. I’m sure of this, not because of the constant whine of Mariah Carey insisting how much she really wants me, or by the long queues of traffic. It’s not even the fact that Santa-shaped chocolates have been available for months now.

I can tell it’s Christmas by my waistline.

I like to spell that ‘waste’ line, by the way, because it’s where all the junk food eventually ends up.

Rather than think about the 12 days of Christmas, I measure the festival in inches.

At times like these mindfulness comes into its own. 

Eating mindfully is one of the best ways to practise this ancient art of concentration and focus and it might just bear results when you weigh yourself afterwards.

A common misperception is that mindful meditation is something to do when you are feeling low and overwhelmed.

However, it seems to me much more sensible to develop these skills before you actually need them.

Therefore, if you want to learn how to mindfully eat and drink, start now, not when there’s an enormous piling of turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce in front of you.

How do you do it? I like tea meditation. Go and get a cup of tea.  Sit down and watch the dancing steam.

Overeating occurs when we’re not paying attention. To the best of your ability, be fully present with the tea. Now reach out and hold the cup while feeling its warmth.

Inhale its aroma. Be in no particular hurry. Lift the cup and take a small, first sip.

Hold the warm tea in your mouth before swallowing, allowing its flavours to burst against your taste buds, as an official taster would. 

Close your eyes and wait for the complex mixtures of aromatic oils to develop.  

As you swallow, fully feel the comforting sensations of being warmed from the inside.

As much as possible, continue to be present as you drink the whole cup, or as much as you want.

Eating and drinking in this way, with full awareness, greatly reduces the likelihood of overconsumption.

I wish you a beautiful, restorative and mindful Christmas.

  • Joseph Pond is a clinical hypnotherapist, an acupuncturist, and a mindfulness instructor. He is co-founder of Hypnosis Explorers NI and sits on the National Board of NLP and Hypnotherapy. Reach him at

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