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Position Statements on Topics Related to Mindful Eating

There is currently a wealth of information about topics surrounding food, eating, and mindful eating from many sources. Having followed some lively debates and conversations about these topics, The Center for Mindful Eating considers it essential to get across a clear message of what we understand as mindful eating and relevant topics affecting its practice for our growing community around the world.

The Center for Mindful Eating has position statements on Healthy Eating, Meditation, Weight Concerns, Sustainable Food Systems, and Food Insecurity. These position statements are in alignment with the mission, vision and values of The Center for Mindful Eating. They might not reflect all of our members’ views/opinions. It is the hope of The Center for Mindful Eating that these position statements will provide opportunities for meaningful reflection and conversations along the path to a healthy and joyful relationship with food and eating to the benefit of all beings.

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These position statements are in alignment with the mission, vision and values of The Center for Mindful Eating. They might not reflect all of our members' views and opinions. It is the hope of The Center for Mindful Eating that these position statements will provide opportunities for meaningful reflection and conversations along the path to a healthy and joyful relationship with food and eating to the benefit of all beings.

We welcome the comments and suggestions of our mindful eating community. Current members of The Center for Mindful Eating are invited, and encouraged, to share their responses to these position statements.

Healthy Eating Position Statement of The Center for Mindful Eating

It is the position of The Center for Mindful Eating (TCME) that healthy eating is enjoyable eating that meets nutritional needs. It utilizes the practice of mindfulness by intentionally bringing awareness to the internal and external environment while eating. This means both being aware of the feedback from the body about what supports its health, including the impact of pleasure, and also of the best available scientific evidence related to nutrition and individual health concerns. The blend of pleasure and nutrition is important for consistency in eating healthfully as well as to optimize digestion, absorption and metabolism of nutrients.

TCME endorses eating, whenever possible, food that is whole and nutritious. TCME supports flexibility around food choices, including eating food that is appropriate to the occasion. TCME recognizes that individual choices are affected by factors that may limit food choices such as economic constraints, religious choices, geography, lifespan and individual preferences. Developing a healthy relationship with food that considers individual circumstances helps foster overall well-being.

Resources:

Mindful Eating and Nutrition Megrette Fletcher M.Ed, RD, CDE

This position statement was revised following feedback from members, March 2016. Feedback was collected through a member survey and round table discussion. 

Meditation Position Statement of The Center for Mindful Eating

The Center for Mindful Eating endorses formal mindfulness meditation practices as valuable for the cultivation and practice of mindful eating, and mindful awareness in daily life. It supports awareness of emotional and physical hunger, and satiety cues to help guide decisions on when to begin and end eating.

Mindfulness meditation cultivates attention and awareness of thoughts, feelings, the body and all the senses without judgment. It encourages curiosity and cultivates compassion, thus providing a foundation for mindful eating.

The Center for Mindful Eating defines ‘formal mindfulness meditation practices’ as setting aside a specific time in silence where - from moment to moment-  we give our full attention to our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations, in order to cultivate concentration, insight and loving-kindness.

Resources:

Strengthening Your Mindfulness Muscles

Mindfulness - Sitting Makes Eating So Much Better

Making Your Meditation Practice a Non-Negotiable Priority

This position statement was revised following feedback from members. December 2015. Feedback was collected through survey and round table discussion.


Position on Mindful Eating & Weight Concerns

It is the position of The Center for Mindful Eating (TCME) that mindful eating supports health and well-being. The practice of mindful eating develops awareness of and honors the internal wisdom that can guide food choices and support eating for well-being. Mindful eating cultivates connection with physical, psychological and environmental cues that can affect food decisions. 

TCME does not endorse any philosophy or program that includes or promotes weight loss measures or procedures because evidence does not support that it deepens or improves an individual’s mindful eating practice.  

The intention of mindful eating is to remain in the present moment by promoting acceptance, nonjudgment, and curiosity about an individual’s direct experience.  It is not outcome-based and does not promote any specific body shape or size. Based on scientific research, TCME expresses caution and concern about engaging in mindful eating exercises for weight loss. A weight focus and related stigmatization may exacerbate psychological issues such as guilt and shame and may keep individuals caught in an unbalanced eating cycle.

Resources:

Why Mindful Eating Needs to Promote Weight and Size Inclusivity, by Lila Graue MD, LMFT

Mindful Eating for Well-Being: What's Weight Got to Do with It? Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D. and Marsha Hudnall MS, RDN, CD (available in our recording store)

Food for Thought Winter 2019: Weight Inclusivity (available in our Food for Thought Store)

Revised following member comments, July 18, 2016

Sustainable Food Systems Position Statement of The Center for Mindful Eating

Mindful eating and sustainability have overlapping values in that both foster awareness and encouragement of humane treatment of all beings, ensuring the protection of animals, farmers, workers, consumers, and communities.

Mindful eating encourages individuals to be aware of our complex food system. It invites participation in ethical consumerism and  sustainable seafood farming and agriculture. Someone who eats mindfully becomes aware of the interconnection of earth, living beings, and cultural practices and the impact of their food choices on those systems.

The Center for Mindful Eating supports a sustainable food system because we believe it is a way of producing food while maintaining a healthy ecosystem that has a minimal negative impact on the environment. The Center for Mindful Eating supports local production and distribution infrastructures helping to make nutritious food available, accessible and affordable to all.

Additional resources on sustainability:

Nourishing the Planet: How Mindful Eating Can Help with Megrette Fletcher, RD

Food, Sustainability and Role of Mindfulness with Caroline Baerten, RD


Position Statement on Mindful Eating to Help Ease Food Insecurity

It is the position of The Center for Mindful Eating that food insecurity is a global issue that professionals in fields related to health, food and nutrition need to become aware of. An individual’s past and current food insecurity concerns may promote unhealthy, mindless or fear-based eating. The Center for Mindful Eating encourages members to take steps to acknowledge and, if possible, ease food insecurity in their local area as a way to benefit their community and deepen their mindful eating practice.

Learning More About Food Insecurity

Food insecurity means the lack of access to enough food for an active, healthy life. 
The Center for Mindful Eating believes that awareness of the presence of food insecurity is the first step to overcome this global problem. 

The Center for Mindful Eating has identified five areas of food insecurity:

The lack of reliable and consistent sources of food.
The lack of sufficient resources to produce and/or purchase food.
The lack of access to food that remains stable and sustainable over a reasonable time.
The lack of basic sanitary conditions to choose, prepare and distribute food that has adequate nutritional value.
The lack of outer knowledge and inner wisdom to choose and prepare food that results in balanced eating patterns and good nutrition

The Center for Mindful Eating endorses the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) report (2014) that supports the development and enhancement of sustainable, community-based strategies in the following three ways:

  1. Seek ways you can improve access of low-income households to healthful, nutritious food supplies.
  2. Seek ways to increase the self-reliance of communities by growing and sharing food through farming, community gardens, and food-waste recovery efforts. 
  3. Encourage coordination of nutrition education with local schools, food pantries and farms.
This position statement was revised following feedback from members, December 2015. Feedback was collected through a members survey and round table discussion.

TCME is a member and donation supported 501(C)3 non-profit organization. We depend your generosity to make our mindful eating programs available. Make a tax deductible contribution on our donation page

The Center for Mindful Eating

P.O. Box 4286

Portsmouth, NH 03802

info@tcme.org

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