May 2016 Member Spotlight: Jenny Berk, MSEd

05 May 2016 3:35 PM | TCME Admin (Administrator)

CEO/Founder Jenny Eden Coaching  

Q. Would you share with members more about your mindful Eating program?

I am doing a series of workshops entitled "The Seduction of Slow Eating" where I first talk about how we became a fast food nation. Then we unpack why we have learned to eat fast and mindlessly and the effects of this on our bodies and minds. Then I discuss techniques for slowing down and end with walking participants through "the raisin experiment." I have also developed a worksheet where I initially have participants eat a piece of food that is provided in their “normal" way of eating and answer several questions afterwards such as "Rate your pleasure" "How quickly did you eat this?” "What nuances or flavors did you notice?" Then I walk them through eating the same food but this time from a mindful and slow perspective and answer the same questions. We then discuss the differences between the two experiences.

Q: Would you share with us your favorite resource for someone who is interested in mindful eating?

I really enjoyed Marc David’s book, the "slow-down diet.”  It does a great job of explaining what happens in your body when one eats fast, eats on the go, and eat mindlessly.  I would also recommend Jean Kristeller’s  MB-EAT site which allows someone who is just learning about mindful eating to download some great resources and read the compelling research about this path.

Q: Do you have a few favorite tips to offer?

It’s important for me to offer other people important tidbits for slowing down and eating mindfully. But one thing that is often not mentioned in this process is inviting in sensuality and pleasure when eating.  We often feel that experiencing pleasure is somehow inappropriate or taboo and maybe we either don’t deserve to feel it or should be allowed to bring sensuality into eating.  Maybe people equate pleasure in the eating experience with over indulgence in the eating experience and that does not have to be the case at all. In my workshops and in my one on one practice with clients, we work on their relationship with pleasure and sensuality -  and as it relates to their body and to the food experience.

Q: Tell us a little how you came to this path.  A story or memorable moment.

My Mom is a gourmet chef, and after school snacks for me growing up were no joke!  One thing she always told me while I was eating was to sit down at the table (I always ate standing up!), slow down and enjoy my meal.  I never took this to heart until my mid 30’s I started developing digestive issues - which I attribute to being a very quick and mindless, on the go eater.  It wasn’t until I visited Kripalu, in Western MA, where I become enamored with the ideas of “silent” eating which they adopt in their dining room for breakfast and in a separate dining room for the other meals.  There was such a peacefulness in being silent and being fully present to appreciate the nuances of flavors, appreciate where the glorious food came from and really get in touch with my body cues as to when I was ready to stop.  This was a major breakthrough for me that led me on this path.  Years later, I have become a slow and mindful eater, my digestive issues have completely dissipated and I am very in tune with satiety cues in a way I never was before.  My mom, 30 years later, is giving me a big “I told you so!”  

Q: What is the one question about mindful eating or mindfulness that makes you cringe?

I get asked all the time if the work I do around mindfulness is science based or more “touchy feely." I think what really bothers me is that many people still feel like meditation and mindfulness is still just for Buddhist monks sitting atop a mountain in Bhutan!  People often don’t realize that this is an empirically sound, scientifically based modality that is helping to treat everything from stress reduction to pain reduction and eating disorders.  It’s a powerful treatment and an accessible practice that anyone can do practically anywhere for FREE!

Q: What is your vision for Mindful Eating? What do you want mindful eating to help or cure?

As a Certified Eating Psychology Coach, I coach people on all aspects of their lives as eaters.  I work with a lot of people who have disordered views about food, their bodies and dieting.  Mindful eating and meditation has been an anchor in my work with clients in that it allows for stillness and quiet amid the chaos of people’s lives, which often then dictates their food choices and food behavior.  I really want to see mindful eating as a vehicle for healing around body image and all kinds of disordered eating.  I envision using mindfulness as a means to create more self compassion, to become more trusting of their choices and their bodies simply by EMBODYING more.  Too many times, we remain in our heads and not squarely in the experience of our body.  I’m very excited at the results I’ve seen so far and can’t wait to see what happens next in my practice and in this field.

Q: Why did you join The Center for Mindful Eating?

I joined because I feel that it is a cutting edge organization and really a “one-stop shop” with respect to all things Mindful!  The free webinars and teleconferences, the extensive membership directory, the mindful eating day and the fact that there is even a “Spotlight” on various members to showcase what is going on in the field of mindful eating is really wonderful and a great resource for beginning and experienced practitioners alike.  So glad to be part of it!

All Members are invited to participate in our Member Spotlight - click the link to submit your info!

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