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Posts Tagged ‘MB-EAT’

eating-food-with-mindfulnessLet’s face it, many pictures that we’ve seen associated with the mindful eating “movement” depict some version of a thin woman eating a big bowl of salad, or an overweight woman triumphantly choosing an apple over a cheeseburger. As if there were true “good” versus “bad” foods (or bodies), and one could earn a mindful eating “badge of honor” for overcoming all of those pesky cravings for fried foods and instead proclaiming a newfound love of kale.

As a mindful eating educator for over 10 years, I’m less interested in what you choose to put in your body, than how you choose to eat. (more…)

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Family Eating BreakfastIf you are interested in learning more about the Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training program as it was developed by Dr. Jean Kristeller, Ph.D., and perhaps want to check out her book or related resource, her website is worth a visit. The Emotional Eating Worksheet (at the very bottom of the page), in particular, could be a useful self-monitoring tool to learn more about the relationship between your emotions, stressful situations, and eating habits. If you use this form to gather information, however, remember to bring lots of self-compassionate “seasoning” to your experience!

As Dr. Kristeller reminds us, “mindfulness can help bring balance into every aspect of how we eat. It involves cultivating a combination of “inner wisdom” (awareness of how our body and mind are responding), and “outer wisdom” (engaging nutrition information and recommendations to meet your own personal needs and preferences)…”

Enjoy!

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Feeling stirred up? Emotions on fire? Perhaps you’ve found yourself turning to food, to soothe, celebrate, or cope. Stop, Drop (in) and Roll with a mini-meditation exercise, adapted from the MB-EAT program. This one-minute mindfulness exercise is useful at any time of the day, particularly before or during meals.

1: Take a few breaths, bringing awareness to the body as a whole. Can you observe the sensations associated with breathing?

2) Bringing awareness to the mind, use it to scan your body for other sensations or emotions. You might ask yourself: “What is happening, now?” Notice the state of the mind: is it busy? racing? or quiet?

3) Allow a sense of curiosity to flavor the exercise – you are gathering information, and checking in, not policing your experience. Witness “should’s” or judgmental or self-critical thoughts, as they come and go.

4) Proceed with eating, or other desired activities. Notice how it feels to do so, after pausing for this mini-meditation.

Feel free to adapt the exercise as needed. In the future, you might also try choosing one object of awareness, such as hunger cues. Emotions. The level of stress felt in the body. Remember, there is value in learning how to attend to your experience, without always trying to change or avoid it. Don’t take my word on this, however. Experiment. And observe what happens.

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From this book: “Forming a healthier relationship with food isn’t about banning certain foods from your life. Nor is it about never eating in certain 9781409163886situations, including when you are in need of some comfort. A range of coping strategies is good. Rather it’s about this: Shifting from an unbalanced relationship to a balanced one. It’s about expanding your list of coping strategies, giving yourself permission to comfort yourself with food from time to time, fitting it into your food energy budget, and deriving true comfort from the food you do eat…” (p.47)

I’m still reviewing this book, but I am already familiar with Dr. Kristeller’s work , in addition to her program’s mindfulness underpinnings in the popular, well-supported Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. In each explicitly mindfulness-based program, there is a strong emphasis upon coming home to the body…learning to listen to the body’s “inner wisdom” (its natural feedback system), in conjunction with skill-building in order to “responsd, not react” to challenging thoughts (like food rules or self-criticism), difficult situations, and painful emotions.

Easier said than done, right? The good news is: these skills are accessible to everyone, with practice!

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