Mindful Eating Tip: Make Good Choices When It’s Easy

August 28, 2012 · 8 comments


Well hello, friends! I know it’s been about a week since my last post, but it feels like it’s been much longer. Ideally, I’d post 2-3 times a week, but lately I’ve been busy (in a good way) and I’m just trying to stay stay on top of things while also managing my sanity. It’s a hard, but I’m working on it! Whether I’m posting four times a week or just once, promise to keep coming back. MmmK?

This past weekend was definitely one I’ll always remember. My good high school buddy, Will, got married in Maine and everything about the wedding was just perfect. I’m going to post pics next week, but I thought I’d talk about my weekend’s food choices first since eating (somewhat) healthfully on vacation can be a challenging task for a lot of people.

One thing I always tell my clients is to “make good choices when it feels easy.” Or at least, comfortable. If you’re out to dinner and the bread basket isn’t calling your name, then don’t have it just because it’s there—or because everyone else is having some. It doesn’t matter what your previous habits have been up until that point or if you’ve “been good” all day. If you’re feeling ehhh about the bread, skip it. If you’re full after dinner and you feel like, “Hey, you know what, I actually don’t need a Skinny Cow bar,” then don’t have it. I don’t care if it is only 150 calories. That doesn’t matter. What does matter is being habitual about making mindful decisions. These small efforts will add up to make a big difference!

It’s also important to make good choices when it feels easy because who knows what unexpected circumstances or cravings will hit you later. Indulging during those times are a lot less damaging when you are practicing selective and mindful eating regularly. I tried to follow this rule over the weekend and didn’t a pretttty good job. When I’m away and off of my regular routine, I try to be mindful and “pick the lesser of the evils” when I can. It’s all about balance.

When we arrived in Portland on Friday, I met up with a group of friends for lunch at Duckfat. Duck.fat. Nice. I knew that would be a winner with the guys, but the girls really liked it, too! Since I rarely drink beer and was in the food for a cold one that afternoon, I decided to make that my “treat” at lunch.

The restaurant is known for their fries and varietal dipping sauces, but surprisingly I wasn’t in a French fry mood. Even though I felt confident that I could be refrain from gorging on fries, I got this salad so that I would: a.) Fill up on something healthy 2.) Be less likely to mindlessly pick at the fries just because everyone else was eating them.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a few fries. But just a few. I ordered the B.G.T (Bacon-Goat Cheese-Tomato) panini for my entree and ate half and a few bites of the second half. I wasn’t full and while the sandwich was tasty, I wasn’t overly excited by it, so I decided to stop. Confession: I looked at the menu beforehand and planned what I was going to order even though I pretended to mull over the menu with everyone else, ha! Having a plan going into the meal made everything so much easier.

And thank goodness I reigned it in at lunch because looky here at what I found shortly after. I’m going to go as far as to say that this is Chunky Toffee ice cream cone from Curly Cones easily makes my  top 10 best ice cream experience list. (And you know how I feel about ice cream!) I got a regular sized scoop instead of kiddie, but almost every in my group tried a bite or two, so that’s OK. It was so worth it.

The rehearsal dinner was a tribute to our Kentucky roots! Fried chicken and corn bread…Mmm mmm. I filled up on the edamame salad and tomatoes and had half the corn bread and a few bites of chicken. I was glad I was sensible during the meal because then this happened…

You know when something is so good it’s impossible to feel bad about eating it? That’s what I experienced with this Derby Pie. I took a few bites, then a few more, and just as I told myself that I would at least leave the crust…it was gone.

Feeling not so happy about so many sweet indulgences in one day, I balanced it out with better choices on Saturday. Breakfast was a banana, strawberries + blueberries and a bagel and lunch was this chicken + salad plate. When I first arrived at the cookout for lunch, I couldn’t decide what would be a healthy option that would also satisfy me. One piece of chicken didn’t seem like quite enough, but I really didn’t want a burger or hot dog or bread, so I decided to have two pieces of chicken with  a slice of Swiss on top. It was the perfect balance. I even made a little salad out of the lettuce + sweet peppers, which were intended to be sandwich toppings! The old vacation-mode Ellen would have gone straight for the burger, simply because it was the more indulgent choice. I’m so glad I know better now. :)

The dinner at the wedding reception gets a WHN stamp of approval! The salad, salmon and sweet brown rice (I think there might have been maple syrup and mangoes in it??) was the perfect tasty-healthy combo. However, the star of the show was the wedding cake. I wish I could remember if it was lemon or vanilla, but I totally licked my plate clean!

Other weekend eats that I didn’t feature were: a few S’mores by the campfire on Friday night (yes, more sweets!); a few good bites of lobster-guacamole nachos + simple side salad + a side of fried sweet potatoes for lunch on Sunday at East Ender. And then for dinner that night…another treat from Curly Cones. I just couldn’t leave Maine without tasting the Maple Syrup Chocolate Chunk!

Honestly, it’s a little embarrassing for me to ‘fess up to all of these indulgences now that I’m taking a closer look at it. However, I didn’t leave the weekend feeling gross and bloated, which tells me that I did an OK job of following this mindful eating rule. I also ran 5 miles on Saturday and played basketball, and went on a 45-minute walk on Sunday. Plus, even though I did indulge my sweet tooth a bit excessively, I didn’t drink nearly as much as I normally would during a big wedding weekend, which I think really helped. Both Friday and Saturday night I stopped drinking about an hour or so before I went to bed, but I was having so much fun I didn’t even miss it!

Now, I’m chugging water, drinking smoothies and getting my greens in every chance I get. I feel fine. Normal. Good, actually. Life goes on…even when you eat too many ice cream cones.

Are you a mindful eater on vacation? What are your favorite things to indulge in? Tell me in the comments!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

lizac August 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm

dont have time to read just yet, but great pics!!! YUM!


AlisonDouis August 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Looks like the perfect wedding weekend! Love your comment about reading the menu beforehand.  I cannot contain myself from looking at the menu in advance — a) because I’m too excited to wait, b) because it helps me not make rash decisions, and c) because I’m a veggie it easier to problem solve a meat filled menu when I’m not chatting away!  Hopefully, I can channel some mindfulness on this 1st college football weekend!


coffmanw October 12, 2012 at 2:58 pm

This post and the other one made me feel like I was reliving the whole weekend again.  Thanks, Ellen.  This is amazing.


Wannabe Health Nut October 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm

@coffmanw I wish we could relive the weekend! It was the highlight of my summer…well…year, probably!


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