Tag Archives: Mindful Eating Conscious Living

Are you OK with a 2-and-a-half-year-old child undergoing bariatric surgery?

by Char Wilkins and Jan Chozen Bays

mindful-eating-360x200A two-and-a-half-year-old boy weighed 79 pounds, three times normal weight for his age, and he suffered from sleep apnea. After his parents’ two attempts to control the boy’s weight through dieting failed, surgery was approved.1 A laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy was performed on the boy which involved removing the outer margin of the stomach to restrict food intake, leaving a sleeve of stomach, roughly the size and shape of a banana. Unlike a lap band, the surgery is not reversible.

You might take a breath right now and become mindful of your thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations. Anger? Fear? Denial? Sadness? Any judgments?

Welcome to the world of excess that affects all of us . . . at any age.

Over a period of 14 years (199-2012), the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey collected information about the prevalence of obesity and severe obesity in the US, examining differences in the trends by age, race/ethnicity, and sex. During that time, 17.3% of children in the United States aged 2 to 19 years were found to be obese. Additionally, 5.9% of children met criteria for class 2 obesity and 2.1% met criteria for class 3 obesity. Although these rates were not significantly different from 2009 to 2010, all classes of obesity have increased over the last 14 years.3

We in this mindfulness community need to not only contemplate our responsibility to the obesity crisis which is fed by greed in its many forms, but we need to act, not react.

Dr. Rohit Kohli, MBBS Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, while acknowledging bariatric surgery can be a life-saving procedure, said:

There are case reports now in the literature and in the public domain in which 4- or 5-year-old children have undergone bariatric procedures. We should definitely think about this, as a community, with open eyes. There are consequences for bone development and metabolic concerns such as mineral and vitamin B12 deficiency or beriberi developing in these children. When we put all of this together as a consequence of a bariatric procedure and weigh it against the benefits that we have just outlined, it is a fine line that we need to walk.

As a pediatrician, first and foremost, I have learned to say, “Do no harm.” We need to take a step back, acknowledge that these procedures work, but in the same breath try to understand the consequences, both moral and physiological.2

But we who practice and teach mindfulness can do more than “do no harm.”

We can help people learn to eat mindfully. We can help them understand how conditioned patterns around eating can impact the way they eat for their entire life. We can help people make connections between thoughts and emotions and disordered eating. We can help them rediscover how to listen to the body so as to know what hunger, fullness and satiety are. We can help people of all ages slow down and re-discover the pleasure of eating through engaging their senses.

And we can help them find alternatives to work with a truth they already suspect: You can never fill the hole in your heart by filling up the stomach.

Our kids are eating their anger, sadness, disappointment and fears.

We tend to point fingers and talk about the issues that swarm around food, eating and body image: the media, fast food chains, genetically engineered food and stressed life styles. Most of us feel pretty helpless in the face of corporate and global forces that shape our lives. We have to acknowledge that we cannot change all these external factors. However we can change our relationship to our bodies and our food. We can choose to focus our time, energy and love on helping one person, one child.

Bridging BadgeJan Chozen Bays and I (Char Wilkins) have been teaching people for many years, individually or in small groups, how to rediscover a kinder and more joyful relationship with themselves, food and eating. A few years ago we formed a teaching partnership in order to spread the benefits of mindful eating by training other professionals in these skills. In our full-day workshop at the Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth Conference in February, we’ll be exploring fun ways to help children use their innate wisdom to eat for nourishment and enjoy the process.

  • What do you think about mindful eating for kids?
  • How do you feel about bariatric surgery for children? Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band, the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, or a nitrogen inflated balloon placed in the antrum of the stomach?
  • Do you have experience with mindful eating?

“Why Did I Eat That?” – Ask Someone Who Is A Mindful Eater

By Cherylynn Glaser, M.A.

Have you ever found yourself thinking “Why did I eat that?” Have you ever told yourself “You shouldn’t take that piece of candy” or “You should eat more carrots”? What about “I just meant to have a handful- but I ate the entire bag of chips!” or “I know I shouldn’t eat this but it’s a holiday and everyone else is…” What would your life be like if these questions and judgments just evaporated into (no pun intended…) thin air?

Ask someone who is a Mindful Eater.

Mindfulness principles are as old as the hills. In the olden days you planted your vegetables, you picked your fruit and you ate to live. Nowadays you buy your frozen dinners, you decide if you want fries with that and you eat to feel better. How did this happen? How did we get here? More importantly how do we fix it? How do we not buy the chocolate Easter candy that only comes out once a year? Or if we do buy the chocolate Easter candy because it only comes out once a year how do we eat only one a day… and not eat the entire box and feel guilty afterwards?

Ask someone who is a Mindful Eater

As a Mindful Eating coach I have seen many people transform their relationship with food into one of nourishment and fulfillment and free from the perils of judgment. As a person who practices mindful eating myself I have been able to change the way I look at food and helped people to do the same.

Just for a moment- given whatever your personal situation is … think about what it might be like to live a day in your life where the food you eat is experienced as fulfilling. A day in your life where you eat because you’re hungry, not because you’ve had a rough day or its “time to eat”.

Changing habits isn’t easy… but it can be done. The Mindful Eating class at UCSD is designed to help us look at food differently. It helps you move from the diets that never work to the lifestyle that does. It helps you move from why did I do that to I can do this.

We all have it within us to change. We just need the right tools and someone to help us along this path. The Mindful Eating Conscious Living Program could be your first step.

Next 4-Week Program Starts on Thursday, April 12 6-7:30 pm

Cherylynn Glaser, M.A. Mindful Eating Teacher
Cherylynn earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego and is currently working on obtaining her PhD. Her primary interests include eating disorders, mindful eating, bariatric surgery and obesity. She spent last summer working as a behavioral coach at a weight loss and wellness camp for children and adults where she taught mindful eating principals as well as provided individual and group therapy. She has also worked with patients who have had weight loss surgery and has co-lead post surgical therapy groups where she taught mindfulness methods. Cherylynn believes that the key components to living a healthy life include the acknowledgement, acceptance, and cultivation of the mind body connection and that mindfulness is a medium through which one can learn to nurture these.