Fed Up? A Mindful Eating Group

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In this toxic, consumer culture we live in today, many people have become accustomed to mindless eating.  Eating in front of the television or computer, eating on the run or to stay awake during a long shift at work, and eating highly processed food for convenience are just some examples.  It is not surprising that many people have difficulty knowing what “normal” eating looks like.  We are still bombarded with mixed messages about what and when to eat and how to “improve” our bodies.  Unfortunately, these messages can leave people distracted, disconnected, and caught up in cycles of extreme dieting and overeating.  Many people turn to food as an unhelpful coping strategy, a learned response to low self-esteem and uncomfortable emotions such as boredom, anger, sadness and anxiety.  When these behaviours become automatic and habitual, they tend to result in reduced awareness of hunger and fullness signals, a sense of dissatisfaction and ongoing desire for more.

There are many reasons to suggest that mindfulness is particularly well suited to individuals with overeating or emotional eating difficulties.  Mindfulness involves being “at one” in each moment as it unfolds, with purpose, clarity and resolve. Practicing mindfulness can help people to turn towards and tolerate difficult and previously avoided feelings.  The non-judgmental and compassionate attitude encouraged in a mindfulness approach can be particularly helpful for people who are self-critical.  Mindful eating, part of mindfulness practice, involves experiencing food with all your senses, noticing the appearance, texture, aroma, taste, and sound, moment by moment.  It involves increasing one’s awareness of hunger and fullness signals, discerning between stomach hunger and emotional hunger, and acting with awareness.  Mindful eating extends to food choices, shopping, and awareness of the way food is grown, produced, prepared and presented.

Fed Up? A Mindful Eating Group is a new 10-session program for women who want to learn skills to gain control over their eating.  The group covers the four main principles of mindfulness in everyday life, mindful eating, emotional balance and self-acceptance.  It includes an educational component, experiential exercises and the opportunity to share your experiences and strengths with other women in a safe and supported environment.

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