My journey with mindful eating began over 30 years ago as I learned to listen and honor my body during my recovery from an eating disorder. This was prior to the popularity of mindfulness. Back then, it was referred to as “conscious eating,” which had many of the same principles of mindful eating, such as:
- Eat what you are really hungry for
- Reliance on the body’s internal cues of hunger and satiety to determine what and how much to eat
- Eat for physical, rather than emotional, reasons
Early on in my career as a dietitian, I began to notice that the weight loss plans I was taught to prescribe were contributing to some of the same thinking patterns and behavior I had experienced while struggling with an eating disorder. Fortunately, other nutrition professionals had come to the same observations and created a revolutionary program for making peace with food: Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. I concluded diets don’t work and chose to dedicate my career to the intuitive eating approach and helping those who suffer from disordered eating.
Years later, I discovered mindfulness and mindful eating through the work of clinical psychologist and bestselling author Susan Albers, Psy.D. Around this time, a dear friend introduced me to meditation. I clearly remember that first hour of silent meditation; it seemed like an eternity. Completing the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course here at Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness was another stepping stone in enhancing my connection with my mind and body and experiencing the pleasure of moving more slowly through my life.
The Journey Continues
As a committed lifelong learner, I completed the Eat for Life program created by Lynn Rossy. My awareness of my habits around food continues to grow. Now, with more ease, I can watch cravings come and go. I am also more mindful of the origin of the food I purchase and consume and hold gratitude for the many people who are involved in bringing food to me.
Is Mindful & Intuitive Eating for You?
If you have a history of chronic dieting, have rigid “healthy” rules about eating, or find yourself eating more than you want when you’re stressed, bored, or unhappy, this may be a very helpful skill set for you to develop. Mindfulness is the foundation for learning how to create a healthy relationship with your food, mind, and body. Using practices such as meditation and yoga, participants in our mindful eating classes learn to listen to the wisdom of the body to improve their health and well-being.
This non-diet approach combines intuitive eating principles and mindfulness practices that lead to the rediscovery of the pleasure of food, appreciation for your body (as it is), and decreases in mindless eating behavior. If you are under a doctor’s supervision for a prescribed diet, you can still benefit from the principles you learn in these classes for creating a healthier relationship with your body and your food.
I wish to honor all my teachers that have contributed to path of mindful eating. I am deeply grateful for all that you have taught me along the way.