Navigating the holidays with mindfulness

It’s hard to believe, but we’re on the brink of another whirlwind holiday season. We’ve just emerged from Halloween and now there’s no stopping our NW winter weather and the turkey- and tinsel-laden events of the holiday season.  Personally, as I mentioned in a previous post about my own leanings toward eye hunger, I love this time of the year. If I could eat up the orange/gold/rose-colored leaves and autumn-inspired decor, I would – and admittedly, in our food choices, some of us might try.  Eye hunger (or other types of “hunger”) can fool us into believing that we have a bodily or nutritional need that must be filled, and it’s especially easy to be tempted down this path if we’re caught up in frenetic activities of a holiday season.

In the past month, I’ve led several free presentations on Mindful Eating During the Holidays, held at New Seasons stores in the Portland area.  While the holiday season can be joyous, it can also introduce extra stress into our lives or bring up feelings of grief or longing. With the increased prevalence of potlucks, candy dishes, and food-themed celebrations, this season can be the recipe (no pun intended) for “emotional” or out-of-control eating behaviors. But what if there was also a unique opportunity lurking behind all of the busyness and celebration? An invitation to pay attention in an intentional and curious manner to what your experience really is during this holiday season….as it relates to both the food on your plate, and all of those other moments of your life?  Read More

Embracing all senses to savor our food

Food can be a source of immense pleasure and enjoyment, particularly if you take the time to savor each moment of eating through all of your senses. Contrasted with mindless or out-of-control eating (what food? who ate it? where did it go?), slowing down to engage in mindful eating of a food item can be a life-changing event. Literally. I’ve had workshop participants realize things about food that they’ve been eating all of their life, such as: “A raisin tastes like that?? Really?” And: “I don’t even like this food – why do I keep eating it?” Others have discovered, contrary to their expectations, that eating just one piece of a food item really was enough to satiate their hunger, particularly if they allowed themselves to fully experience their food. Who knew? Read More

Introduction to Mindful Eating

“Mindful eating” has been gaining popularity, but as Jon Kabat-Zinn (founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program) once said, the practice of mindfulness itself is “deceptively simple.” How easy is it, really, to pay attention to our  present experience as we engage in an activity such as eating? As you may already know, it’s actually quite difficult. Read More