We are delighted to shine our June Member Spotlight on Denise Watson, creator of Mindful Eating Tableware, a dinner plate designed to continually bring attention back to the experience of eating.
The mindful eating reminders around the rim of the plate act as visual cues to interrupt emotional and habitual unconscious eating. They cause one to refocus on their eating experience and to observe what thoughts or beliefs are driving their eating. This pause allows them to choose their response rather than to continue to eat reactively. These reminders also help to enhance the physical and emotional benefits of that meal.
Mindful Eating Tableware is a way to introduce clients to mindful eating and then to mindfulness in general in order to help them create peace with food and their bodies and more peace and contentment in their lives as well.
Q. Would you share some information about your Mindful Eating program with us?
Most of my clients come to see me because they are suffering with excess weight. Many have devoted years of their time, and energy, both physically and mentally, in the pursuit of weight loss. I begin with the introduction of mindful eating to help them get back in touch with their true physical need for food and to learn how to nourish their bodies without “diet mentality.”
They also begin to recognize any impulses to eat that aren’t due to hunger. By practicing mindfulness at these times, they begin to recognize what it is that they are really “hungry for.” As they begin to be more present with their thoughts, emotions and beliefs, they start to connect to their higher goals, purpose and meaning. Through this awareness they create balance in their body, mind and spirit, which is the key to their transformation. This holistic approach helps clients achieve their goals (both big and small) and to begin to redirect their time and energy towards living true to themselves.
I also teach a yoga class that focuses on introducing mindfulness. Most of my students initially come to my class because they want to improve their fitness and the way their bodies look. But, like my weight loss clients, after learning and practicing mindfulness for a while, they come to understand that sculpting their bodies to look a certain way is not what they are really ‘hungry for” either!
I use the Mindful Eating Tableware as a way to introduce mindful eating to more people in order for this same process of awakening to take place. By eating mindfully regularly, we naturally begin to apply mindfulness to other areas of our lives. As we elevate ourselves to our highest potential we create peace and health in our body, mind and spirit. We then can help elevate others and positively impact our families, our culture, and the whole planet. After all, it is our true human nature to grow and evolve spiritually and when we resist this growth, we suffer (with excess weight and body image).
Q: Would you share with us your favorite resource for someone who is interested in mindful eating?
On my Facebook page I have a collection of articles and research on mindful eating, mindfulness, neuroscience, and positive psychology. I like to search social media, websites and bloggers for the most current and trending information. Some of my favorites are Mindful, Happify. Sounds True, Greater Good Science Center, Yoga Journal, Clean Plates, Chopra Center and The Center for Mindful Eating.
Q: Do you have a few favorite tips to offer?
Practice. Practice. Practice. And begin again. Everything in life is a journey of growth and development and there is no destination. Let go of expectations, outcomes and striving and just set an intention to be the best version of YOU that you can be. Practice mindfulness and make the choices with food and in your actions and word that move you towards this intention so you can elevate yourself to your highest potential and therefore be able to give your gifts to the world.
Q: Tell us a little how you came to this path. A story or memorable moment.
I have worked in the health care industry for over 30 years. For the past 6 years I’ve been a health, weight loss and emotional eating coach and a yoga instructor. It was through training with The Institute for the Psychology of Eating, the study of yoga and Buddhism and the mentoring from a good friend and colleague, Robin Phipps Woodall, (author of Weight Loss Apocalypse) that I began using a mind/body, holistic method of coaching. This approach allowed clients to see that their struggles had little to do with food and that weight loss wasn’t even what they were really seeking. They realized that what they wanted was love and approval and self worth and self- acceptance. Finding the balance between mind, body and spirit, with the help of mindfulness, was the path to their transformation.
The idea for Mindful Eating Tableware came out of my own need to “slow down, be present, eat guilt free, taste pleasure, and be grateful” while eating. Like practicing mindful meditation, the visual reminders helped me to continually bring my attention back to what’s happening in the present moment: the experience of eating. My clients began using the plates and found that they were able to be more mindful with food, and to pay attention to each aspect of their eating experience. The practice of noticing thoughts, emotions, beliefs and physical sensations while eating led to being more aware of these components in the other situations in their lives as well.
Q: What is the one question about mindful eating or mindfulness that makes you cringe?
Do I have to sit cross-legged with my hands in prayer to practice mindfulness?
The answer is: No. Mindfulness is available at any moment, in any situation and in any position. It can be done for seconds or for hours. Anytime that you bring your attention to what is going on in the present moment and just observe it without judgment, that is mindfulness.
Q: What is your vision for Mindful Eating? What do you want mindful eating to help or cure?
I would like mindful eating and mindfulness to create world peace and solve the current health epidemic! It’s not too far fetched! Through mindful eating we teach people to no longer fear food and to listen to and love their bodies so they can accept themselves and feel safe from rejection due to cultural ideals (they get out of survival mode in the brain.) Mindfulness can develop a deepened sense of personal contentment, meaning and satisfaction of our lives (also fundamental for health and wellbeing). This peace of mind leads to more compassion for ourselves and for others, which improves our relationships and allows us to see that we all connected (the third basic human need). This consciousness could bring us together regardless of the shape and size of our bodies, our income, race or religion. Changing the way we think, act and speak, because of the practice of mindfulness, can alter our neuropath ways as well as our genetic expression. This awareness could be the key to the transformation that ends social injustice, hate and war and brings health and happiness into the world.
Q: Why did you join The Center for Mindful Eating?
I joined The Center to be a part of the movement to help others reach their highest human potential by creating healthier minds, bodies and spirits.
More information about the Mindful Eating Tableware
The Mindful Eating Tableware plates are available for sale directly from Denise's website as an additional tool to assist clients with their mindful eating coaching. They can be purchased individually or wholesale. The referral program allows clients to receive a promotional code for a discount and a referral reward is provided to whoever promoted the purchase.
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