Posts Tagged ‘healthy living’

Sharing-meal-eating-habits_blogCheck out the NPR podcast, the Hidden Brain, interviewing a social scientist who has spent his career investigating our relationship with food.


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pablo-picasso-tuttart-69I have a quote attributed to Pablo Picasso, pinned to the bulletin board in my home office, which reads: “I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it.”

This Saturday marks the first monthly educational Mindful Eating virtual event I’m hosting on my Facebook page. I invite you to participate at any level that works for you, if you are hoping to learn more about mindful eating and would like to explore your relationship with food. Watch the video, practice some of the exercises I’ll suggest, or look into recommended mindful eating resources. Bring a sense of humor, your curiosity, and a few bites of food!

Over the course of this week, I’m experimenting with new skills and activities, too: setting up a web camera, recording videos, researching secure video conferencing options for future sessions, and completing professional training to become a Behavioral Health Consultant (BHC).  It’s a busy time, and I’m excited to explore ways to make mindful eating-related education and services more accessible, affordable, and helpful.  Your feedback is important to me, so please let me know how this virtual event worked for you after it’s over, and what you may hope to see offered in the future. Email savoringthemoment@gmail.com or call my confidential voicemail at (503) 367-9488.


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2370002698764This past month, I’ve re-read “Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine,” by Saki Santorelli, Ed.D., the Executor Director of the UMASS Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society. Dr. Santorelli is a long-time MBSR practitioner and teacher,  and I would add poet and philosopher to his impressive list of credentials, after moving through his book for a second time. And truly, I was moved.

Narrative medicine has been described as a way for healthcare providers to “…reach and join their patients in illness, recognize their own personal journeys through medicine, acknowledge kinship with and duties toward other health care professionals, and inaugurate consequential discourse with the public about health care. By bridging the divides that separate physicians from patients, themselves, colleagues, and society, narrative medicine offers fresh opportunities for respectful, empathic, and nourishing medical care” (Charon, 2001).

In Heal Thy Self, this author thoughtfully enters into an intimate exploration of his own experiences, personal and professional (as Saki himself reminded us during an MBSR training, the two are not separable, as much as we might wish to demarcate a distinction), over the span of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course.

More than ever before, healthcare providers and their patients are engaged collaboratively in efforts to improve individual health and well-being. (more…)

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worried-woman-with-doctor-patient-breast.jpg All of us have felt vulnerable in our bodies at some point in our lives, especially during an illness, fleeting or chronic, or as part of the normal process of aging. But what do you do when you find yourself preoccupied excessively with health concerns?

In mindful eating, we often talk about “inner” and “outer” wisdom, as in: listening to the cues from the natural feedback system of our bodies, and consulting reputable, solid resources in our community. Sometimes, however, life feels overwhelming. When it comes to food, we are often flooded (via the Internet, popular media, sometimes by well-intentioned friends, family members, or even providers) with too much – or conflicting – advice about what is “good” or “bad.” Similarly, our minds can become flooded with thoughts of anxiety, especially when we are struggling with some aspect of our physical experience. After all, it’s not as if we can leave our bodies entirely (even if “checking out” is a strategy you might use, from time to time). As someone who is recovering from an inner ear condition that has caused symptoms of vertigo, I can relate to feeling off-balance (literally) and sometimes out of control in my body. But how do we decipher all of these confusing messages from mind-body, respond effectively, and not get lost in our fears?

Whether it relates to making skillful food choices (what/how/why do I want to eat), or navigating medical conditions such as chronic pain, diabetes, or heart disease, the S.T.O.P. exercise can help when you begin to feel lost:

  • Stop what you are doing. In the parenting world, we used to talk about taking a “time out,” but a more helpful approach is often allowing a “time in” – with yourself. Go to the bathroom, shut your office or bedroom door, pull over to the side of the road. Do what you can, within your power, to pause for several moments.
  • Take a breath (one complete in-breath, followed by one complete out-breath). You know what? Go wild and crazy – take two, or three!).
  • Observe – what thoughts are you noticing right now? Emotions? Sensations in the body? This isn’t the time for an analysis or dissection of your experience, but the equivalent of putting your head out the window to gauge the current “weather” system. Your weather system. Also, do you find yourself wanting a particular part of your experience to go away right now, or are you feeling curious and interested? There are no “wrong” answers. Whatever information you discover is useful.
  • Proceed forward, perhaps toward something that is in line with your values (completing a task, connecting with a loved one, attending to your body in some way). Not sure what to do? Take a few more breaths, notice what happens in your mind and body, and then see if a choice becomes clear.

Repeat as needed. These are the kinds of skills I love to teach clients, whether to navigate food, health issues, or other life stressors more effectively. Remember, sometimes we can’t change the occurrence of experiences we are having, but we can learn to work with them differently and respond in a way that reduces our suffering.


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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ll be releasing a more detailed outline by the end of the week, but here is an overview of the new-and-improved EAT curriculum that I’ll be teaching again beginning in October:

  • An introduction to mindfulness skills (and how they will help you reach your health- and weight-related goals)
  • The basic principles of mindful eating
  • Learning to achieve balance – listen to your body’s natural feedback system: mindfulness of hunger, fullness, satiety, and taste preferences
  • Learning to cope with difficulties and cravings: short & sweet lessons from a variety of self-compassion, mindfulness- and acceptance-based models

I’m working on a “traditional” track (6-8 sessions, in-person, maintenance sessions as needed) and an abbreviated version (YouTube videos or CD’s + handouts only, for individuals who have already established care with another provider or are seeking these educational materials only).

Interested? Feel free to get in touch at (503) 367-9488 or info@drmcwatters.com.

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I recently finished reviewing The Diet Trap: Feed Your Psychological Needs & End the Weight Loss Struggle Using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy. The title alone is a mouthful!

DietTrapCF.inddIt’s been interesting to contrast this book with The Weight Escape, which is also based in ACT as well. I’d definitely recommend both books for individuals who are hoping to implement healthy life changes, although each book adopts a slightly different stance that might be a good fit (or less so) for its readers. Here are my reflections, based upon an initial review: (more…)

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