I participated in both sessions of Dr Mary Ann Wallace's Mindful Eating class. The first session was a large group with Dr Wallace presenting the concepts and leading us in guided meditation. The second session was a much smaller group with intensive guided meditation followed by journaling, discussion and one on one coaching. Both sessions resonated with me as I have used food to sooth and numb myself for nearly 50 years. Despite knowing that I was using food for emotional reasons, this is the first class that gave practical, non-diet guidance and insight to help me face my demons; love and embrace myself for who I am; use meditation and journaling to allow the space for understanding and acceptance; and allow my spiritual self to guide me through this life process. Losing weight is the byproduct, not the focus. Dr Wallace is teaching life skills not diet skills.
- CS (Class Participant)
The flyer advertising the Mindful Eating class caught my attention. Could it be possible to change my relationship with food and make healthier choices – while considering what this sensation of “hunger” was attempting to feed? I registered for Dr. Mary Ann Wallace’s class and joined a kindred circle of experienced dieters. Early on, we shared our struggles with healthy weight management, despite our knowledge of the basic food groups, nutrition, portion control, and a multitude of different strategies.
Through guided meditation followed by journaling we were encouraged to observe and listen to our own stories and messages about how we had learned to nurture ourselves. Dr. Wallace created a safe place to simply consider ways other than food that might feed the sensation we called “hunger.” The momentum of familiar eating habits and patterns hardly allowed for a pause between “hungry” and an open refrigerator. It was in this small space that awareness - mindfulness - was encouraged.
Since participating in the Mindful Eating class series, I have remembered to recognize the “hunger” sensations as they arrive – and sometimes pause to greet them and even ask them to stay for awhile. From class exercises, I have a list of familiar eating triggers as well as a list of “things to do besides eat.” There are many ways to nurture with kindness. Years of learned behaviors don’t magically undo unhealthy eating habits, but moments connect with other moments and open possibilities for healthier choices. With patience and daily awareness, I am learning to change my relationship with food.
- Anonymous (Class Participant)
Dr. Wallace consistently brought our attention back to the idea of being kind, gentle and understanding with ourselves because part of the eating addiction results in self-hatred, selfcriticism, and a feeling of failure. Her gentle yet direct, firm approach provided us with a role model as to how to relate to ourselves. When the inner critic was silenced, it was much easier to deal with the facts, feelings and emotions. She impressed upon us the importance and need to be self-supporting, self-nurturing and our own best friend and ally. Dr. Wallace taught us to focus on and decipher the difference between fatigue, a need for love or attention, repressed anger or any other emotion we were feeling as opposed to actual, true physical hunger.
She encouraged us to meditate and taught relaxation exercises. Also, when an individual in class had a problem or issue, she stopped and focused on that person, helping them to get relaxed and quiet, to go inside, to get to the core of the issue and find a different approach to solve the problem or address the issue. This was helpful to all of us because basically we all had the same underlying problems and concerns about our weight.
These were wonderfully helpful, supportive classes and I surely will be attending more in the future. Dr. Wallace has so much to offer and has a teaching style that provides safety, instruction, education, support and lots of laughter and fun in the process. I also read her most recent book entitled, “Mindful Eating” which was also extremely helpful to me.
- JH (Class Participant)