It is a pleasure to shine the Member Spotlight on Jean Fain. Jean has been a great friend to The Center for Mindful Eating, assisting in presenting webinars and writing articles for Food for Thought. We are delighted to tell you more about this eloquent member of The Center for Mindful Eating.
Jean, would you share with members more about the link between self-compassion and Mindful Eating?
A. Sure! In the moment, when you treat yourself like a friend or a loved one, with care and concern, you’re more apt to eat mindfully. You know, eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Over time, treating yourself with self-compassion makes it a lot more likely to eat less and weigh less without dieting.
There are a growing number of wonderful mindful eating books and resources out there. Is there one that stands out to you for someone who wants to increase self-compassion?
A. Kristin Neff, her website may be found here: http://self-compassion.org/
Jean you have a workshop coming up? Tell us more about it.
A:.My in-person and on-line groups teach you how to curb overeating, feel your hunger, trust your taste buds and become deeply satisfied with the quality, rather than quantity, of food. All of which helps you eat less and weigh less without dieting. With a choice of instructional and support groups, you can have as much or as little support as you’d like. The introductory instructional group teaches newcomers the basics of self-compassion meditation and mindful eating. The intermediate instructional group is a chance to dive deeper into mindful eating and self-compassion practice, plus boosts skills for handling everyday eating challenges. The mindful eating support group provides a safe forum for addressing personal eating issues, discussing assigned readings and continuing the practice of mindful eating and self-compassion. To learn more about all my/Jean’s groups, including the January 2016 weekend workshop in Concord, Massachusetts, go to www.jeanfain.com.
Would you share with us a few tips? Maybe a few we could offer our clients?
A. There are many ways to cultivate self-compassion, but my favorite is loving-kindness meditation. You can practice formally, sitting in silence or informally walking around the neighborhood by repeating these four phrases: “May I be safe. May I be healthy. May I be happy. May I live in ease.” You start by wishing yourself well, then extending your well wishes to your next-door neighbor, the postman, the new mom with the baby carriage.
Even easier is taking a self-compassion break. When you notice you’re feeling stress or emotional discomfort, silently say to yourself: “This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is a part of life. May I be kind to myself.”
Tell us a little bit about how you came to this path.
A. I gained weight in my late teens, and it was such a miserable experience, I was determined to learn how to lose weight and keep it off, so I’d never be that miserable again. Long story short, I took a journey, and not the jaunt most dieters expect to take. Like most dieters, I tried everything: Atkins, Weight Watchers, fasting…. I drew the line at colon cleansing. But nothing worked, at least not for long. What worked was the opposite of what I expected: I stopped listening to diet experts and, little by little, started trusting myself.
What is the one question about self-compassion, mindful eating or mindfulness that makes you cringe?
A. Mindful eating? Oh you mean chewing each bite x-number of times?
What is your vision for mindful eating? What do you want mindful eating to help or cure?
A. Ideally, if everyone ate mindfully, I expect we’d drastically reduce, if not end world hunger. Realistically, anyone who eats mindfully can expect to feel healthier, happier and live in greater ease.
Q Why did you join The Center for Mindful Eating?
A: Oddly, the old Coca-Cola commercial comes to mind: I’d like to teach the world to… eat, not to mention enjoy and love themselves. There’s no better organization than The Center for Mindful Eating to help me do all that.
All members are welcome to submit their story to our Member Spotlight. To learn more, visit: Member Spotlight