February Member Spotlight: Andrea Lieberstein

14 Feb 2017 4:31 PM | TCME Admin (Administrator)

We are delighted to introduce Andrea Lieberstein, MPH, RDN, RYT, as our February Member Spotlight.

Andrea Lieberstein, MPH, RDN, RYT, is a mindfulness-based registered dietitian; mindful eating expert and speaker; mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindful self-compassion instructor; and registered yoga instructor. Andrea has been teaching mindfulness meditation since 1993 and leads mindfulness and mindful eating retreats and trainings at renowned retreat centers. She speaks at conferences, universities, and worksites. As a teacher trainer, she trains health professionals in mindfulness-based eating awareness training (MB-EAT), other mindfulness practices, maintains a local and virtual private practice, and was a leader in developing and implementing Mindfulness and Mind Body Spirit programs at Kaiser Permanente Northern California for over twenty years. She was also a consultant and instructor in mindful eating research at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.

Andrea utilizes evidence-based mindfulness and mindful eating practices in her integrative private practice, working with individuals on a wide range of disordered eating, nutrition, and lifestyle challenges; healthy weight management; body image and stress-related issues; and health concerns. She is also trained in integrative nutrition approaches.

Andrea has degrees from both Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley. One of her greatest joys is bringing the life-transforming practices of mindfulness and mindful eating and living to others, opening the door to the abiding calm, peace, joy, well-being, and clear seeing these practices offer.

She would like to highlight her new book, Well Nourished, due to be published July 1, 2017 (available now for pre-order now), her 3 month online MB-EAT Health Professional Training Programs, and the residential MB-EAT health professional training programs, and her Mindful Eating and Well Nourished retreats and workshops for sharing, growth and support.

 Q. How would you describe your mindful eating program/mindful eating work?

The intention of my mindful eating work is to help heal the distress, misinformation and suffering around food that exists for so many, help people find a joyful and nourishing relationship to food, and balance through mindful eating and living. To me, mindful eating is first and foremost the doorway into the transformative and healing world of mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation is a foundation of the work I do with clients - to still and calm the mind enough to see the distressed patterns in the mind - the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that lead to disordered eating and a challenging relationship with food. Bringing awareness of societal pressures, media and values is also important in the road to healing to have a healthier relationship with food and self. Self-compassion work and cultivating kind awareness is an integral component of my mindful eating work with clients, an important key to healing and freedom from unnecessary suffering. 

I am fortunate to have been introduced to the fundamental core mindful eating skills, tools and practices of MB-EAT, an evidence-based approach, through intensive mentoring and research I participated in as a consultant and instructor. I use many of these with my clients, teaching and retreats. Jean Kristeller, the founder of MB-EAT and I teach in-person professional training programs internationally. For those preferring online learning, I teach a 3 month interactive highly experiential online professional training program. These evidence-based highly experiential programs form a strong foundation of many mindful eating professionals’ toolbox, skills and knowledge around the world. It is rewarding and exciting to watch the transformation of so many professionals that go through the program - as they truly internalize the mindfulness and mindful eating practices over time and are able to offer the practices to their clients from an authentic place of understanding and embodiment. The online program also has a strong emphasis on developing and deepening one’s mindfulness meditation practice and basic teaching skills. The outer wisdom components are flexible in nature and easily individualized with clients and specific populations. Please see my website  for more information.

I have a new book being released July 1, 2017 called “Well Nourished: Healing Your Relationship to Food, Feeding Your Whole Self and Ending Overeating.” Mindful eating and mindfulness are foundational in the book. It draws upon my years of experience teaching, coaching and consulting in the areas of mindfulness, mindful eating and mind body health. Key and foundational to this work is helping clients discern what they are truly hungry for, and learning skills and tools to nourish their whole selves. I'm delighted to offer a selection of public programs and retreats if you’d like to learn this approach or have clients that could benefit

Q: Please share with us your favorite resource for someone who is interested in learning about mindful eating?

These three books offer a nice range with some overlapping approaches that most clients can resonate with from more Buddhist to secular:  

"Mindful Eating" by Jan Chozen Bays, "Joy of Half a Cookie" by Jean Kristeller, and a favorite of mine I use in retreats is "How to Eat" by Thich Nat Hanh. And of course, now I will add my new book, “Well Nourished”. Finally, TCME is a great resource and guide for the professional particularly just beginning the journey and interested in learning more about mindful eating.

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

Really take time to appreciate the food before you, how it got to you, what went into making it, the aroma, colors, and textures, before eating. While eating let the food “nourish” you with each bite. Practice being present to the experience of feeling nourished and satisfied in your body and knowing when you have had enough.  To receive my 10 tips to mindful eating to help facilitate this process, sign up on my website for this complimentary gift.

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

So many to share along this path! But I’ll share when my mindfulness and nutrition paths intersected in a meaningful and transformational way. Mindfulness practice and teaching mindfulness meditation has been a rich, rewarding and integral part of my life for over 20 years. I’ve been a meditator since high school, specifically on the mindfulness path, since my very first vipassana retreat in 1987 and becoming a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) instructor in the early 1990’s was pivotal. With the support of the HMO, Kaiser Permanente I worked at, I attended Jon Kabat-Zinn’s and Saki Santorelli’s first 9 day MBSR teacher training at Omega Institute in 1993, and helped disseminate the program to the Northern California region. I had become a registered dietitian in 1988, interested in food and lifestyle as medicine and wellness (my public health master’s thesis was titled “Food as Medicine”) Fast forward to 2008 when I was invited to apply to teach/consult in a Mindful Eating study for the next three years. Here my work and passion for the mindfulness path and my background as a mind body and mindfulness-based registered dietitian were able to come together and be validated as a whole in an evidence-based mindful eating and mindfulness program and approach. It expanded what I knew possible in the application of mindful practices, mindful skill sets and specific awarenesses to eating. Although I was naturally predominantly a mindful eater, so many were not and could benefit so greatly. The possibilities of the lovely nourishing mindful meals we ate on silent meditation retreats could now be made accessible and expanded to daily life for many people. So my two parallel personal and professional paths came together for me in one greater unified way to make a positive difference in this world. It’s been a beautiful journey, meeting and sharing this path with so many other like-minded professionals, often introducing this to them for the first time, and seeing the deep transformative change that is possible with clients again and again. Contributing to real lasting change from the inside out. I appreciate this field and the great contribution and positive impact we can all have on so many.

Q: What question have you encountered about mindful eating or mindfulness that makes you cringe? 

When people with no previous mindfulness experience or context find out that I have been a mindfulness practitioner and teacher for years, they want to talk to me about getting into the "Mindfulness Business". They seem to be approaching this as simply a new business opportunity and not a passion, practice or path they are entering or have been on for years. This happened two to three times, particularly when I was at a large mindfulness and technology conference! Mindfulness as both a personal practice and professional path is key when teaching, coaching and guiding in this field. In the mindfulness path the personal intersects strongly with the professional. If this path is followed with integrity and intentions to benefit the well-being of others than I am all for it. 

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

My wish is that mindful eating be a doorway into the path of clear seeing, of moment to moment mindfulness, joy, lovingkindness and compassion towards self, all beings and a more loving and peaceful world. When a joyful nourishing relationship to food and self can be established, any energy (caught up in struggle and challenge) can be freed up towards living fully, heartfully and contributing to the world from a more resourced place. The awareness and consciousness that this mindful path can bring is healing not only to ourselves and each other; to our bodies, hearts and minds, but to the planet, nature, the animals and our precious environment and ecosystems. 

Q: Would you share with us why you chose to join The Center for Mindful Eating? 

TCME is a wonderful way whether for thought leaders in the field, veterans on the path or those just beginning the path to stay connected, learn about each other's work and opportunities or resources they may not have been aware of and to contribute. I appreciate the hard work the volunteer board and other volunteers bring.

Our members are invited to feature their work in the field of mindful eating in our Member Spotlight. We are dedicated to support the promotion of our members' mindful eating related projects that are in harmony with our Principles of Mindful Eating. Are you a TCME member with something you'd like to share? Apply for our next Member Spotlight. Not a member? Check out our Member Benefits! We have membership levels for students, individuals and professionals. Learn more about how to become a member to support the principles and practices of mindful eating.

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