The fundamental concept underlying my treatment program is mindfulness. Many people are not aware of this term or what it means. If you have heard of it, you probably associate it with meditation and stress management. In fact, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center pioneered its well-known use with patients suffering from stress-related medical problems such as hypertension, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Mindfulness is not a new idea. It is an ancient concept that is the central component of meditation. Mindfulness is a state of mind that will help you gain control over your emotions, thoughts, and behavior. It will put you back in charge of your eating.
Mindfulness is awareness. It is not simply paying attention but a deep, focused awareness of yourself and your surroundings on a moment-to-moment basis. It is paying attention, on purpose.
Most of our eating occurs automatically, without real awareness. This is true whether you are eating low-calorie, nutritious foods or two candy bars. I mentioned earlier that when people binge they often do so in a robotlike, “spaced-out” manner. This state of mind is the exact opposite of mindfulness and one that is designed to keep you feeling out of control. Food is in charge, not you. Together, we can put a stop to this and put you back in control of your eating and your life.
Mindfulness will provide you with the opportunity to change your relationship with food and, eventually, your dependence on food. You will learn to heighten your awareness of every aspect of your life as it relates to food and eating. We will be applying mindfulness to your thoughts and emotions associated with food as well as to your hunger and appetite. To stop binge eating you must first become mindful of your automatic reactions related to food.
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