mindful eating

Mindful Eating For Beginners – Mindful Eating Day

You might have heard a lot about Mindful Eating recently. It seems to be everywhere at the moment within the health and wellness industry. You may have heard phrases like “Learn to eat mindfully for weight loss” or “lose weight enjoying the foods you love”. While it’s true that mindful eating is an amazing practice to reconnect you with the joy that eating can bring, the thing is is that lately it seems to have been hijacked by the diet industry, and is often described as a weight loss tool, or as a way to “control your weight”.

When mindful eating is linked to weight loss, the true meaning and intent of mindfulness and mindful eating has been lost.

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is a practice born from the Buddhist experience of mindfulness. A Western definition of mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn is “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally”. Mindful eating therefore is the practice of mindfulness applied to eating. Paying attention purposefully and with awareness and curiosity, to the act of eating without being judgemental about what, why and how we are eating. By doing this we are able to fully connect with our body and its senses and experience the full pleasure of eating, and nourish it in a way that is serves us best.

Mindful eating is about the experience and letting go of our fears and judgements we may have about eating, and our bodies – not a method of weight loss. You can see, therefore, how mindful eating and weight loss don’t fully compliment eachother.

How to eat mindfully

For someone who has never practiced mindful eating before, I encourage them to choose a meal, a snack, or an eating time where they may like to introduce it first. This may be a meal where they know they already are in a much calmer place, or quite a chaotic meal where they would like to be able to eat in a more mindful way.

Together we discuss some strategies to support them in bringing some awareness to the meal. This might be from the time they walk in the door, it might be when they are ready to cook or prepare their meal, or it may when they are sitting at the table ready to eat. To begin with, it may not be practical to eat your whole meal or snack in a mindful way. For a lot of people, eating the first few mouthfuls of your meal or snack with full awareness and curiosity can help create some calmness  for the rest of the eating experience. It also helps you practice some of the skills which will help you to eat more mindfully such as becoming curious about your needs and experiences, testing sayings or mantras to help with the experience, becoming more aware and reconnecting with your hunger and fullness, and practising letting go of judgements.

For more information on mindful eating, visit the Centre for Mindful Eating.

You can sign up to receive my free “Peaceful Eating Tips” printable here.

To book a consultation to discuss how you can apply mindful eating, contact me.

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Non-Diet approach in practice

non diet approach melbourne

I came across this quote from Michelle May M.D the other day, and I absolutely love it. A client of mine came to this realization the other day, as he is working on trying to view all food as not good, or bad, but rather neutral. He described the importance of choosing higher quality, “nicer” foods and those which he really feels like, rather than what he thinks is “healthier”.     The effect on his overall relationship with food being:
– Decreased feelings of guilt,
– Increased feelings of satisfaction,
– No longer always thinking about what his next meal or snack will be and
– Reducing the constant “obsessiveness” with what he “should” be doing.

This freedom to choose what you really feel like is one of the key aspects of setting yourself on the path towards peace with food and eating.

Self compassion 

  
A common theme throughout each of my sessions with clients today was self compassion. Expressing self compassion encourages you to nurture and nourish yourself in a more healthful way. 

Dr. Kristin Neff describes 3 elements of self compassion – mindfulness, common humanity and self kindness. She states “Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?”

To find out more about self compassion, visit Dr. Neff’s page http://self-compassion.org

And the Centre for Mindful Self Compassion 

Dietitian in Camberwell – new rooms!

I have just relocated to new rooms not far down the road from my old one.

Although it is inconvenient to have to relocate, especially over the christmas and new year period, the positive thing is I get to utilise these beautiful counselling rooms at Therapy FiveHT.

dietitian melbourne

Ahhh, couldn’t you just curl up and have a nice rest? I could! But don’t worry,  I won’t, I’d rather listen to my amazing clients talk about  about their food and eating experiences… and help them reconnect with food and their bodies.

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nutrition melbourne

Recipe – Overnight oats (Bircher Muesli)

Serves 2-4

Ingredients
100 g oats (1 cup) (quick)
2 tablespoons white chia seeds
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
350 ml milk , of your choice (Jamie uses almond or coconut)
(11/4 cups)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
a dash of all-natural vanilla extract
a squeeze of lemon juice
2 ripe pears
1 pinch of ground cinnamon
a small handful of dried sour cherries , or cranberries

The night before, put the oats, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds into a bowl or container, pour over the milk, and add the maple syrup, vanilla and lemon juice. Mix well, then cover and pop into the fridge overnight.

In the morning, chop the pears into little chunks, sprinkle over the cinnamon and add the sour cherries and either layer them up with the oats and seeds in a glass or bowl, or just run out of the door with everything in a little container.

 

This recipe is from jamieoliver.com/recipes

 

Workplace health and wellbeing

This is a photo of me prepping for a couple of sessions with a marketing team from a health and beauty business at their workplace. We made a couple of recipes and discussed ways to get more nutrition in during the day at work, especially when you get in a rut of making the same sandwich, or visiting the same cafe everyday at lunchtime. In particular we spoke about breakfast and snack ideas. This team brings their breakfast in to work everyday and eats together before work- what a wonderful office culture!

I couldn’t have conducted a session without talking about mindful eating and conducting a mindful eating activity which of course they found really enlightening.

Read one of the recipes for Overnight Oats here

I have not disappeared – Like us on Facebook!

dietitian melbourneI have been a bit quiet on the website blog – no new recipes or stories. Besides all my good intentions, it is really hard to give every area of my life the attention it really needs! I do however have a whole lot of draft posts waiting for some love, and I hope to start posting a bit more regularly soon.

As always, I continue to see clients in Camberwell for nutritional counselling of eating disorders, disordered eating and assisting people to learn the Non-Diet Approach skills for health and wellbeing. Click here to make an appointment. I also post things on Facebook, usually re-posts of interesting articles from colleagues and bloggers. I recommend you get on it and click Like – and make sure you let me know what else you would like to see from me!