Thursday was the first meeting for our “Eating With Your Body in Mind” 8- week Mindful Eating Program. We have a full class and are off to a great start! Everyone was so happy to be there, and full of smiles. Plus they get food catered by Chef Malena, which is always delicious!
During this 8-week program, participants will learn how to listen to their bodies to determine hunger and fullness signals. We will examine why we eat, why we make the food choices we do, and how we determine that we’ve had enough to eat.
I encourage all my readers to join us on this journey. Each week we will recap the key points and share thoughts, assignments, recipes and “aha” moments so you can get the great information, even if you can’t come in person!
The “Coaching” Team
- Debra Benfield M.Ed, RD, LDN, RYT, of Body In Mind Nutrition in Winston-Salem is our lead instructor for the program. Debra has extensive experience working with people facing all kind of nutrition related issues. She is also a registered yoga teacher.
- Chef Malena Douthit is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. She has worked in a variety of settings and also assist with our cooking workshops at Cancer Services. We love the way she approaches food and eating. It’s refreshing, fun and most importantly, DELICIOUS!
- Yours Truly! I will serve the administrative role and “special guest” occasionally. I will be involved in answering any cancer nutrition related questions. All participants were asked to come to a “Cancer Nutrition 101” session prior to the workshop starting. If you are interested in getting this information, please join us this Wednesday at 5pm EST online for the webinar version! Intern Sarah will be going through Julie’s presentation with you. REGISTER HERE.
- Nutrition Interns. I have several really great interns this fall, so they will be helping to take notes, get participants what they need and generally assist Debra with the program.
We started the session by grounding the participants and increasing their awareness of themselves and their surroundings. Participants are asked to eat dinner partially in silence so they can focus on tasting and appreciating the food.
After dinner, Debra explained that most people have lost their intuition to understand their hunger and satiety signals from their bodies. Her hope is to help our group reconnect with our bodies and listen to the wisdom they have to offer. Instead of punishing ourselves or yelling at ourselves and feeling guilty about eating, Debra wants us to talk kindly to ourselves.
Many people have tried nearly every diet under the sun and cannot seem to keep the weight off. Debra talks about why diets do not work and how because of them, we have lost the natural connection to our bodies’ system of hunger and fullness. For more on this, you will definitely want to get the “strongly suggested” reading to go with this program. The book is called Intuitive Eating and goes into more depth than we can cover in our 1.5 hour sessions!
During introductions, the group shared about themselves and their cancer stories. This group is strong and will be an excellent support system for each other! When they introduced themselves, they included what type of “eater” they tend to be.
HOME ASSIGNMENT: Think about what type of “eater” you tend to be. Are you all about business getting through the meal? Do you enjoy the flavors of different foods? Do you choose whatever food is most convenient? Do you choose foods for emotional reasons? Do you reward yourself with foods because of the struggle you’ve been through? Are your eating behaviors the same or different since your (or your loved ones’) diagnosis?
Debra’s challenge for the group during week one was to figure out what distractions take their focus away from eating during meal times and try to remove those distractions. Many people eat in front of the TV or their computer and some people don’t even take the time to sit down for meals (I’m guilty of this at work!).
HOME ASSIGNMENT: Take time this week to eat one meal a day in silence. No distractions! Start by finding a quiet spot to enjoy your meal. Keep your phone, computer, TV and pets away for at least 5 minutes. Spend some time being grateful for the food, the people involved in growing and preparing it. Take your time in eating each bite. Chew it fully and pay attention to the flavor and texture.
By the end of the session, everyone seemed fairly confident about the next week trying remove distractions and listen to their bodies more. Hooray! Stay tuned for the weekly recap as we go through this program!
VIRTUAL WALKING PROGRAM
I wanted to let you know that I am starting another 8 week virtual walking program called Walk More. Stress Less! It’s pretty simple – you sign up with your email and I send you wellness tips each week. You track your minutes spent doing physical activity and send them to me each week. I will give out participation prizes and raffles will be done for those who continue to track their minutes throughout the entire 8 weeks! SIGN UP HERE
I look forward to great things this fall!