• Heather Wheeler L.Ac.

Mindful Eating - Erin Darling

Over five years ago, after the birth of my second daughter, I hired a personal trainer to lose the rest of the pesky baby weight that was holding onto my body for dear life. Over the course of eight weeks, we worked out together and she pushed me harder than I had ever been pushed.  We developed a friendship and truly enjoyed being around her, however at then end of eight weeks, the weight was still there.  After the sessions were over, I decided to narrow my focus in a new direction.  I went to google and found a therapist that

specialized in mindful eating.  Years prior to having children, I read many books on this very topic and adopted this way of eating as a lifestyle.  However, children had thrown my whole world into a crazy loop and there was NO way I could bring mindfulness back into my life without professional help.

For over a year I worked with this wonderful woman named Cheryl, who taught me more than I could ever hoped for.  I began working with her independently, and then eventually moved to her weekly coaching groups.  All the work we did was centered around the concept of eating mindfully.  Mindful eating is the idea that all food should be enjoyed without judgement.  There is nothing shameful or secretive about it.  If you want a piece of chocolate, have a piece of chocolate, but make sure you eat it slowly and pay attention to it.  Things that we love should be paid attention to, not ignored.

Throughout our work we also learned how to meditate.  We did walking meditations, full body meditations, we meditated on a raisin…eating each bite slowly and savoring each little bit.  And yes, you can actually eat bites of a raisin!  The meditation taught us how to slow down and how to eat with more awareness.  And when you eat with more awareness, you inevitably eat less!  There are many aspects of mindful eating that can be incorporated into daily life. 

Some of my favorite tools that I have kept in my toolbox years later are:

  • Eat sitting down, not standing at the kitchen counter or refrigerator.

  • Always eat on a plate or dish, never out of the bag or box.

  • Use a smaller plate and always plate your food at the stove, leaving it at the table causes more frequent fill ups.

  • Get in the habit of putting your fork down between bites of food.  You can even take a drink of water and lean away from the table a bit.  Force yourself to slow down and enjoy the company you are sharing your meal with.

  • Take a pause before you start eating.  Start your meal with a breath, a prayer, just a moment to center yourself before you eat.

  • Eat without distractions.

All these concepts have made world of difference in my life.  After working with my mindful eating coach, I was able to shed that last bit of baby weight fairly easily.  I realized the answer had nothing to do with my body and how hard I was pushing myself in the gym, but more to do with my head.  Learning to slow down around food, help to instill a renewed sense of pride and love for myself.  I began to feel that I was once again the boss of my life and that food was to be enjoyed.  Over time, that careful attention I was paying to myself paid off in other ways.  I began to notice which foods were making me feel less than my best and which kept me satisfied for hours. These revelations about myself were helpful in shaping who I am today and how I work with my clients.

If you are interested in working together and adopting healthier habits that include mindfulness, I am accepting new patients.  I love passing on what I have learned and what has helped to me to create a better and long-lasting healthy relationship with food. Remember being mindful is not about being perfect, it is about listening to your body and truly paying attention to what and how much it needs.  Our bodies are smart, and they will tell us how to live, if we stop tuning them out.

To schedule a complimentary 15 minute consultation: call 636-244-0686

Erin Darling

Wheeler Acupuncture and Functional Wellness

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