Freedom & Food

As summer sets in, most of us are facing the struggle to avoid tempting foods such as ice cream, good ol’ BBQ, chips with salsa, and a large handful of salted nuts. Somewhere between making a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and starting to plan your menu for the summer BBQ with the neighbors, perhaps you have lost that motivation to prepare fresh foods. Instead, you might be feeling guilty that you ate another cookie, went back for seconds when you weren’t even hungry, or ate a large serving of the ice cream because “it was a really stressful day at the office or with the kids.” is there any freedom from the cycle of good vs. bad eating?

Absolutely. I call it mindful eating, but the concept is also well-known as intuitive eating. Most of us know what is “healthy” to eat; however, mindful eating allows us to freely consume foods that are typically less helpful for our bodies in smaller quantities and enjoy them. Mindful eating means pausing to consider the type of hunger you might be experiencing when you grab that extra snack or reach for a sugary beverage. There are many types of hunger that I challenge my clients to take notice of when they are completing their food records for their nutrition consultations. I typically encourage someone to use the following types when recording what triggered their snacking or eating a meal:

  • Emotion – boredom, stress, sadness, happiness, frustration, tiredness, etc.
  • Availability – the food was easy to grab
  • Hunger – it was about 3 or 4 hours since the last time you ate something
  • Craving – you really wanted the taste of the snack
  • Activity – you were doing something, such as watching TV, that makes
    you want to snack

Then, we review this record and “unmask” what’s really causing those “cravings”. Finally, we determine which practical ideas would work to address that particular type of hunger instead of eating more food. For example, someone who routinely snacks because they are an “emotional eater” might set a goal to mindfully enjoy snacks seated at the table, instead of standing in the kitchen, and perhaps even honor themselves enough to eat the snack off of a beautiful china plate rather than out of the package.
This is just one exercise in mindful eating that clients (young and old, male and female) seem to benefit from. Most importantly, it unveils that hidden temptation about foods and provides us with the freedom to mindfully choose the best approach to honor our hunger! For more information on mindful eating or to schedule an individual consultation, please contact Danielle McGee RD, LD at 713-365-9015.

This entry was posted in Danielle (McGee) Mitchell, Past Posts and tagged , , , , , by Danielle Mitchell M.Ed.,RD, LD, LPC. Bookmark the permalink.

About Danielle Mitchell M.Ed.,RD, LD, LPC

Danielle (McGee) Mitchell is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian (RD, LD) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Danielle graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Sciences, completed her dietetic internship from the University of Houston, and has been a dietitian since 2007. She completed a Master’s of Education in Counseling at the University of Houston and then obtained licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Danielle enjoys integrating her nutrition expertise with psychotherapy and counseling to help clients connect mind, body, and spirit. She provides individual therapy for clients with eating disorders, offers sessions in family therapy, conducts group therapy, and is passionate about integrative nutrition options for women’s concerns. She sees clients for anxiety, depression, adjustment disorders, career counseling, and trauma. Danielle enjoys public speaking and has provided several presentations on weight management, counseling in the nutrition setting, emotional eating, nutrition for autism, Asperger syndrome, and ADD/ADHD. She has guest lectured for counseling classes for nutrition students at the University of Houston. She hosts workshops for parents and caretakers called Feeding the Kids: Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters (see Upcoming Events). She is available, by appointment, for individual or group counseling as well as nutrition consultations or presentations.

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