Welcome to my TAME Your Appetite blog. I’m Dr. Sheila Forman (you can call me Dr. Sheila, or just Sheila if you prefer). I am a psychologist and mindfulness-based eating-awareness instructor. As a psychologist, I have been helping people with food and weight related issues for over twenty years. In my never-ending quest for knowledge, I came across the work of Dr. Jean Kristeller of Indiana State University. She is pioneering researcher in the field of mindfulness-based eating awareness. I read her book, The Joy of Half a Cookie, which distills her research into a user-friendly guide to mindful eating.
After reading the book, I dug deeper and learned about a professional training program organized by Dr. Kristeller and her associate, Andrea Lieberstein. I enrolled in the program and began an intensive 4-month curriculum to learn the nuisances of Dr. Kristeller’s work (known in research circles as MB-EAT) so I could teach it to others.
This blog and my program TAME Your Appetite – The Art of Mindful Eating are the products of my MB-EAT training. I look forward to sharing with you what I have learned so you can go from mindless munching and emotional eating to peace with food and mindful habits.
Let’s get started with these initial 4 actions:
- Start meditating. The foundation of TAME Your Appetite (as in all MB-EAT work) is mindful meditation. Beginning today set aside a few minutes and sit quietly. Focus you attention on your breath. When you mind wanders, and it will, gently bring your attention back to your breath. Do this every day and the effects will permeate not just your eating but your life as a whole.
- Eat your meals and snacks without distractions. Instead of gobbling your food while doing other things, stop, sit and eat. It takes just a few minutes to eat so do so without any distractions. That means no TV, no computer, no phone … you get the idea. Give yourself time to notice what you are eating and enjoy it. Eating without distraction is another foundation of TAME.
- Slow down as you eat. Eating while distracted is not the only eating habit you will change with mindful eating. You will also learn to slow down and savor your meals. Try to eat more slowly. Put your fork down in between bites, use your non-dominant hand or use chopsticks. Do whatever you can to slow down. See if that allows you to enjoy your food more.
- Stop when you are comfortably full. Eating beyond our body’s needs is a primary reason for excess weight. One reason we do that is because we are unaware of when to stop eating. When you eat without distraction and slow down it will become possible for you to notice when you’ve had enough and stop eating. This skill takes time so the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll master it!