Spend Valentine’s Day with us!
What better way to care for yourself than by participating in this life-changing retreat?
Love someone else too!
Bring a friend, partner, sister, mother, or anyone else you love and you’ll BOTH receive a $50 Red Mountain Gift Certificate for the Spa or Outfitters Store! Makes a perfect gift!
Am I Hungry? Eat Mindfully, Live Vibrantly All- Inclusive Mindful Eating Workshop and Retreat
When: February 11-15, 2016
Where: Red Mountain Resort and Spa, Ivins, Utah
• Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Workshops and retreat activities with founder Michelle May, MD
• Meaningful connections with people who understand and support you
• Lodging and amenities at one of our favorite destinations—the beautiful Red Mountain Resort near St. George in southern Utah
• Three delicious, healthy meals daily, including guided mindful lunch experientials
• All resort activities, classes, and optional daily guided hikes
• Self-care time to relax, restore, and renew!
Retreat info: http://amihungry.com/eat-mindfully-live-vibrantly-retreat/
One of the questions I am often asked is, “How long does it take to learn to eat mindfully and stop yo-yo dieting (or whatever the challenge is)?” My answer is “It depends,” or “It’s different for each person,” or “I’m still learning!” However, after 16 years of teaching mindful eating using the Mindful Eating Cycle, I’ve noticed that people go through four distinct phases that closely follow a learning model called the Four Stages of Learning.
Briefly, here are the Four Stages of Learning, then I’ll talk specifically about how people move through these stages as they learn to eat mindfully. (Please note: Don’t get hung up on the word “incompetent.” It simply means you lack knowledge and/or a particular skill. It is not a judgment!)
Unconsciously Incompetent – You don’t know what you don’t know (or don’t understand the value).
Consciously Incompetent – You know what you don’t know but your awareness may outpace your skills.
Consciously Competent – You are practicing what you want to know.
Unconsciously Competent – It is, or has become, natural for you so it is generally effortless.
When a person progresses through each of these stages as they learn to eat mindfully, there are common patterns in the following areas (as well as common pitfalls in each stage).
Your relationship with food
Your eating behaviors
How you feel
Where you invest your energy and attention
What your life looks like
Four Stages of Learning to Eat Mindfully:
You feel trapped in the eat-repent-repeat cycle, and you either don’t realize there’s an alternative or you’ve heard about mindful eating and don’t understand how (or don’t believe that) it could help you.
Caution: Mindful eating may sound too good to be true. In addition, there are many myths about mindful eating that could confuse or discourage you from taking the next step.
You are learning to recognize the decision points in the Mindful Eating Cycle. Your awareness increases faster than your skills so you may feel afraid that it won’t work for you. Mistakes are part of the learning process.
Caution: Out of habit, you may try to apply old “diet-mentality” to mindful eating, for example, using hunger and fullness to control your eating, looking for quick results, focusing on whether you’re losing weight, worrying about whether you’re doing it “right.” This is a time when you are vulnerable to giving up and regressing back to unconscious incompetence. A workshop, retreat, coach, or therapist can be invaluable for guiding you toward competence.
You feel free of the bondage that dieting and overeating held over you. As you continue to practice your mindful eating skills, they become increasingly natural. At this point, you could learn how to teach others while you continue to increase your awareness and master your new skills.
Caution: At this point, you can’t “unknow” mindful eating because you’ve personally experienced the benefits. However, you can choose to not do it. Mindful eating is not a linear process so you must continue to cultivate curiosity and nonjudgment.
You manage your eating effortlessly using mindful eating principles (awareness, curiosity, nonjudgment, acceptance, and so on). You are mindful in other aspects of your life, including your work and your relationships. Your energy is available to invest fully in your life.
Caution: If you have always eaten instinctively and never been “incompetent,” it may be challenging for you to “get” why others struggle. If you feel drawn to help others with lifestyle change, you must become consciously competent by Am I Hungry? – Train with Us that seem so effortless and obvious to you.
No matter which stage you are in, we’d love to help you get to the next level!
By Michelle May, M.D.
Have you ever logged food or kept a diet diary ?
I sure have! I remember feeling really motivated at first, so I would invest a fair amount of time measuring food, looking things up, writing things down, and making mental calculations. Eventually, the motivation gave way to frustration, boredom, and occasional “creative” record keeping.
Now we encourage the use of an Awareness Journal in all of our Am I Hungry? mindful eating programs. So what has changed?
We call it an Awareness Journal because the purpose is just that—awareness. It’s like having a fly on the wall observing everything that is happening. As you capture what happened, you will better understand why it happened. And after all, you can only change what you’re aware of.
So how is using an Awareness Journal different? Let me start by clarifying what it is not.
An Awareness Journal is not for:
making sure you’re being “good”
“I’ve tried that before.”
Journaling about what you eat is nothing new because there’s a natural tendency to change behavior as you become conscious of it. However, lasting change comes from understanding why you make the choices you do and making connections between your thoughts, feelings, actions, and results.
The Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Cycle provides a simple but effective format for organizing your observations and thoughts. It will help you notice why you are eating, when you feel like eating, what you feel like eating, how you eat, how much you eat, and where you spend your energy.
Even if you don’t make an immediate connection, journaling helps you remember what happened so you can reflect back on it and see if any patterns emerge. Journaling is also an important way to reinforce and practice key mindful eating concepts and to record gradual progress throughout your journey that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Five Secrets to Using an Awareness Journal Effectively
Skip the judgment. A fly on the wall doesn’t judge! By writing down your observations without judging them, you’ll be free to increase awareness, make connections, learn from your mistakes, and make it possible to choose differently in the future if it will serve you better.
The “why” is more important than the “what.” You’re not using an Awareness Journal to track calories, points, carbs, or calories burned during exercise, so there is no need to weigh, measure, or count. In the long run, those methods feed into obsession, distraction, and restrictive eating. Instead, capture your food decisions using only as much detail as you need to help you see patterns.
Cultivate curiosity. Food and exercise logs turn eating into a math problem. An Awareness Journal guides you to become curious about the factors that affect your decisions. Jot down hunger and fullness levels, other physical feelings (thirst, fatigue), thoughts, emotions, insights, self-care activities, and any questions you have. (Feel free to post those questions in your Member Portal or our Facebook page.)
Make note of your body’s feedback. Here are some examples of helpful connections you might make from your Awareness Journal: “I ate a large bowl of pasta at lunch and I was sleepy during my afternoon staff meeting.” “I felt more energetic on the days I got up early to walk.” “I felt sad and craved macaroni and cheese all day.” “I am mad. I ate potato chips. I am still mad. And full. Next time I’ll try talking to Eric instead.”
Take a flexible approach. Some people don’t start journaling because they’re waiting until the perfect time (which never comes) or they stop journaling simply because they missed a couple of days. Forget the all or nothing approach to journaling! Perfection is not possible—or necessary. Any time you write something down, you increase the information available to you for learning.
Try it! Pretend there’s a fly on the wall simply observing what is going on during your next eating cycle. Using the Awareness Journal format, what triggers, cycle drivers, and patterns do you recognize? See if the fly on the wall perspective helps you get the big picture and explore and improve your relationship with food and your body.