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mindful eating

Featured Lifestyle Local Food

Meal Meditation

March 17, 2017

 

One hour to practice. Eating meditation is among the simplest, and mindfulness practices to practice at mealtimes. We will include chanting, blessings, energy work + nutrition practice into the programs. A nutritionally complete lunch is included in the program. Experience, strengthen and connect with your meal + nutrition practice.

Individual Sessions 

Available only at Hyannis location. 

Classes

March, April + May

Wednesdays at noon – 1pm


Featured Lifestyle

Cultivating a Positive Body Image

August 26, 2016

Body image is defined as “The subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body.” It encompasses one’s own ideas, memories, generalizations, beliefs and feelings surrounding their body. In essence, it’s how you feel in and about your body.

  • A negative body image includes a distorted perception of one’s own shape, feeling uncomfortable in your own body or feeling self-conscious or anxious about your body’s appearance. It also includes negative perceptions like the thin ideal;  the idea that an individual is only attractive when they obtain a certain body size. 
  • A positive body image could be described as a clear and genuine perception of your body’s shape, but it’s also more than that. It’s feeling confident and empowered in your skin, no matter its shape, blemishes, or past. It’s feeling free from the restraints of the thin ideal. You appreciate and celebrate your body for everything it does for you and place little emphasis on physical appearance, whether it be your own or others.

Body image affects everyone; male, female, young and old. In recent years, the media has waged a war on our individual body image. Research has increasingly demonstrated the media’s link to the thin ideal, and it’s seeping deeper into our society, affecting us more and more. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA):

  • 98% of american women are not as thin as fashion models
  • 42% of 1st-3rd graders want to be thinner
  • 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat
  • 70% of 18-30 year olds don’t like their body
  • 60% of those in middle age remain unsatisfied
  • 50% of girls use unhealthy weight control methods such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking, vomiting, or laxative use.
  • 25% of pathological dieters progress to a full blown eating disorder. 

Letting go of the oppressive diet culture:

Diets hold us back on our journey to body positivity as they encourage a restriction mentality and hold food as a token object, one that can be taken away as a form of punishment. Food should never be looked at in this way. We should look towards each meal as a form of nourishment and act of self love. When we eat well and balanced, it is a form of self respect. When we use food as an object of control and degrade our bodies natural urges, that is when we begin to mistreat ourselves and fall into negative and oppressive patterns.

How does our body image affect our nutrition practice?

Our body image affects us in a multitude of ways; socially, emotionally, mentally and behaviorally. People with negative body images are more likely to develop an obsession with weight loss and will go to extremes to obtain their ideal body image. This can be in the form of food restriction, extreme dieting, exercising, etc. All of which can affect our nutrition practice and lead to an imbalance. When we eat and think only in terms of weight loss, we lose the connection between food and health. When we begin to manipulate food in unhealthy ways we look less for nutrients and more for low numbers. Low fat/sugar/calories does not mean it’s healthy and limiting calories does not ensure weight loss. When we think in these definitive ways we give into diet culture and fall out of balance with ourselves.

With a positive body image, one is able to truly cultivate a nutrition practice; one that is based on balance and nurturing each and every cell in your body. Emphasis is on natural and whole foods that will keep your body running smoothly from the inside out, not on low nutrition facts. Positive body image helps one accept what our bodies need to run properly and nourish it completely. Hunger is seen as a sign of self respect, not weakness. Body positive individuals listen to their bodies, understand what they need and accept themselves as they are. Giving up diets and prior idealizations, we are able to truly realize body love.

How to cultivate a positive body image:


We talk about cultivating a nutrition practice, but what about a self-love practice?

Begin with examining your own thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and prejudices about your own body, weight and eating patterns. Can you replace any negative thoughts with positive ones in your own daily life? Here are a few ideas to practice:

  • Practice mindfulness throughout the day, especially during meals and exercising. Eat mindfully, slowly, and in a calm quiet area. Pay attention to your food, thoughts, and nourishing yourself.
  • Think critically about what you see in the media and online. We are bombarded by so much information and images on a daily basis, it’s hard to take the time to examine what’s true and what’s false. 
  • Practice acts of self-love daily. From writing daily affirmations to practicing meditation to yoga and journaling. Find something you love to do and practice it daily.
  • Surround yourself with positive people that lift you up and encourage you to be your best possible self.
  • Wear clothes that represent your true authentic self. Find things that make you feel comfortable and happy.
  • Look at yourself holistically, you may be a work in progress, but that doesn’t mean you can’t love yourself along the way. 

Meal Meditations: 

Before your meal, try a sequence of Sun Salutations: 

Sun salutations are great to do before meals. Thank the sun, the earth, the soil, visualize your garden, a farm, the farmer, the plants growing, rain falling, seeds coming out of the ground + the energy that’s in your food. A lot of hard work has gone into your meal.


Right before your meal, try the Zen Meal Chant: 

First, let us reflect on our own work and the effort of those who brought us this food.
Second, let us be aware of the quality of our deeds as we receive this meal.
Third, what is most essential is the practice of mindfulness, which helps us to transcend greed, anger and delusion.
Fourth, we appreciate this food which sustains the good health of our body and mind.
Fifth, in order to continue our practice for all beings we accept this offering.

meal meditation


During your meal preparation +/or meal time, try a meal meditation: 

Connect with each ingredient in your meal. Observe it in its whole form, feel it, smell it, taste it and most importantly, connect to it. Read how to create your own meal bowls.

meal meditation 2


Books 

How to Eat by Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindful Eating by Rachel Bartholomew + Mandy Pearson

Light on Life by B.K.S. Iyengar


Mindful Moment with Dr. Mary: 

“Allowing for intuitive cooking means being Open, Relaxed, and connecting with the Creative part of yourself.

Open comes when we operate from a ‘judgment-free zone.’ Acceptance of others, of possibilities, of combinations, and of course — of ourselves.

Relaxation comes when one engages in self-care. More than adequate sleep, good nutrition, plenty of water, regular soaks, meditation, progressive relaxation, and exercise.

Creativity comes when you engage in self-acceptance and allow for things to flow.”

~ Mary Acunzo, Ph.D {we’ll be hearing more from Mary in the future!}

 

A special thank you to Olivia Eldridge, a Delicious Living Nutrition intern, for working on this post with me. Olivia is studying Psychology at Emmanuel College in Boston, MA with a strong interest in Eating Disorders and Nutrition. 

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with love