Tag Archives: Awareness

Your Mindfulness-Food Connection

Weight Loss

Weight Loss

Once more, mindfulness is being totally present and in the moment and avoiding judgment. So how do we connect our increased practice with mindfulness to our eating behaviors and attitude to food?

Sadly, we let our lives become so busy that things become automatic, even some of the things we should devote more of our focus and energy toward. Eating is one of them. Even if a person doesn’t have issues with overeating, it has been proven that being mindful to our food and digestion when we eat is much healthier for us.

If we teach ourselves to eat mindfully, we give ourselves the opportunity to examine what we think and how we feel which in turn affects the way we eat or don’t eat. If we can gain an understanding of this process (which is entirely unique for each one of us and is subject to change at any given time), it only stands to reason, we are that much ahead of the game at being able to better manage things we don’t believe to be in our best interest.

If I ask you what you ate today before noon and you were honest with your response, odds are it is the same thing you ate yesterday or the day before. We tend to eat habitually, many times, the same thing each and every day. This habitual eating gets us stuck in a routine that we may not even be aware we are in.

How about if I asked you what your last meal smelled like or what the texture of the main ingredient in your last dinner felt like? It is more than likely you would have to think about it now and this would be the first and only time you will have given it this type of attention. When we eat mindfully, we experience each bite of the food we eat. Try it!



What about the percentage of your attention and focus that went into your last meal or snack? Were you in texting someone while munching on your salad? What about your last snack? Were you reading something that took up much of your focus? If you want to eat mindfully, you will need to just eat when you eat.

Do you pay attention to how hungry you are before and while you eat? If you set yourself up some type of internal scale with which to measure your degree of hunger during your meal, you can reconnect with when you have had enough to eat to satisfy your hunger and avoid overeating (or at least have a better chance at avoiding it).

Magic of Mindfulness

Magic of Mindfulness

Something mindfulness has been super effective at teaching me is that a thought is just a thought and a feeling is just a feeling. Neither are facts. If you eat mindfully, you also will be more aware of the thoughts and feelings you experience while you eat and be more able to avoid incorrect thinking that could negatively affect how much or the type of foods you choose.

Practicing the mindfulness eating connection routinely and effectively can be one of the most powerful tools in your weight loss or healthy weight maintenance toolkit.

Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

Humanity is but a scale. . .

Humanity is but a scale. . .

It is this hard wiring that must be reprogrammed, not so much in individual persons, but in the DNA of humanity itself. The gene must be turned back on. Like reversing the damage done by centuries of the civilized life, well, reversing it without returning to the original point, so a new point to begin evolving. In the civilized life, we forget that we are animals and start believing that we are superior. We start believing that the abilities of mental acuity makes us formidable and beyond reproach. We start thinking it makes us immortal. Although, we can possess mental acuity and we are (as energy) immortal, we are not as humans immortal, we are not untouchable, we are not an ALL KNOWING BEING. Humanity is but a scale, a dimension of existence, a level of magnification. As is consciousness.

There are such apprehensions as infinite finitudes and finite infinities. There is limited unlimits and unlimited limits. It’s more like a spiral, and by spiral, that is to say a gradient (or levels of degrees). A growing, an expansion….not some vertical all powerful CEO. Nature knows this, the Earth knows this. Take, for instance, a spider building its web above the rapids. To put what the spider did into human terminology, he will yield the most return because he built an efficient economy. Bugs gather above the water because it is a source of food for them as well, some will inevitability be trapped in the web. Spiders build webs all over sporadically it seems. But that’s on one level of magnification. There is an intelligence here, it could be on the quantum level or on the macro level [that is should we say if the earth is conscious] which protrudes from motion as a spider that builds a web above the water. The spider knows. And humans are a scale of knowing, a way of explaining the world.

And this deep knowledge (by deep, I allude to volume of Time) is projected as instinct and awareness.

“My rule is, when you are unhappy, think about it. But when you’re happy, don’t. Why spoil it? You’re probably happy for some ridiculous reason and you’d just spoil it to know it.” ~Richard Feynman

Psychotic Episode (I Have No Ego)

Psychotic Episode (I Have No Ego)

I have no ego. . . my psychotic episode.

The schizophrenic experiences a stunning barrage of continuous, horrifying symptoms: auditory hallucinations, delusions, ideas of reference, paranoia, etc. The “indescribable severe torture” is unrelenting and can go on except during sometimes restless sleep, at whichtime the symptoms are even active when one becomes conscious at all. This experience is so overwhelming it is beyond the imagination. It cannot be conceived of intellectually. By its very nature it in fact necessitates the concept of religion in order to relate to it at all. This continuous experience of psychotic symptoms can be viewed as “spiritual exercises in perfection”. The effect on the schizophrenic is similar to that of monks when practicing their rituals in monasteries. When these spirited exercises become a lifestyle for the schizophrenic (lasting 8-10 years) with no real evidence given to the schizophrenic that he will ever recover, a fascinating thing happens to the psyche of that schizophrenic—he loses the perspective of “ego”. Ego consists of all his identifying factors in the world: his age, sex, race, religious affiliation or lack thereof, education level, social class, political affiliations, nationality, etc. He begins to see his environment with the eyes of a newborn, without the bias or prejudices, preconditions of his particular circumstances. It can be seen as a sort of continuous baptism by fire, a kind of purification, enabling him to see reality for what it is in actuality, rather than being viewed through the preconceptions of his individual mental, emotional, and behavioural repertoire instilled in him from birth. The schizophrenic in this condition is able in his interior to walk around in someone else’s moccasins with perfection. This can be seen as loving your neighbour as you love yourself, perfectly. I do not believe it is a condition that can be acquired by a “normal” individual by any method, because the horror of the symptoms of schizophrenia are unduplicable by man. (Religious persons would call this condition repentance for all one’s sins, e.g. “perfect repentance”.) ~Source

Recommended readings on the absence of ego in the SchizoAffective (schizophrenic) mind:

*Image Credit (used with permission through CC license):
“walking on the razor’s edge in the underground train world : manhattan (2007)” by torbakhopper






Torture, Pain and Suffering can be Good

Torture, Pain and Suffering can be Good

The following post was originally written and posted by Stephen Ames.

Torture, Pain and Suffering can be Good

I am no one special. I am not smart. I was diagnosed mentally retarded when I was 13. I have also been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder. I have also been labeled a terrorist and a criminal. That sure is a lot of contradictions, but they aren’t mine.

I spent 3 years in Special Education coloring, drawing, and counting change until I dropped out of school. I just never could do schoolwork, I thought it was absurd. I don’t have any letters after my name, I haven’t attended and/or graduated from any prestigious schools, I haven’t even dropped out of any prestigious schools demonstrating my self-motivation and non-conformity. I don’t have a degree that automatically makes whatever I attach my name to an instant voice of veracity.

I was beaten almost daily as a child. Many were so severe that I couldn’t even stand, walk or get out of bed. I missed a lot days at school because of the beatings. My Grandmothers tried to help me. They even hid me a few times, but they were unable to stop it. I lived in terror every moment of my childhood.

When I was a child, I was also strapped down to a table with wires glued to my head. Everyone couldn’t figure out why I wouldn’t do school work so I was sent off to the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville Pennsylvania for  tests.  After that, I was placed in Special Ed.

When I was in my early 20s, I barely escaped a lobotomy. They said a lobotomy could cure me. This was from a well-meaning Psychiatrist in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. He knew I was in severe mental pain, but he didn’t know what to do about it.

prison of painI’ve been surrounded by S.W.A.T 3 times. I’ve played cards with serial killers and mass murderers during my 3 stays at Mayview State Hospital a maximum security forensic hospital.  I’ve had to go months without bathing, brushing my teeth, or shaving while in the hole in Dauphin County Prison. My teeth rotted, just like the clothes I wore.  Living in and never leaving a 4×8, room for a few months brings on higher states of consciousness—so it was a good thing.  Also in prison, I was stripped naked, handcuffed behind my back and strapped in a chair for days at a time. It’s not much fun sitting in your own excrement and urine, but the pain and suffering make for a wonderful teacher. It gave me a deeper understanding of torture. The people who commit acts of torture are more afraid than those that they torture and they don’t know what they are doing.

I’ve been homeless, hungry and cold. This was also a good thing. It let me know what the homeless really face on a daily basis.

Knowing this may make you into an automatic skeptic, which is fine, but it does more for me. It makes me free to say and do whatever I want.  And what is it that I do and want? I want to share my experiences with others, ease their pain and suffering. Why?  Because I empathize with, have compassion for, love for everyone.  I have tried, oh, believe me, I have tried not to empathize, have compassion and love for others, but it is something I just can’t turn off. People may consider me an enemy, but I never can be. I just can’t hate.

Because I am not confined by letters after my name, a piece of paper certifying my pedigree, any school, business or institution that pays my bills to disappoint or offend, no will whatsoever to uphold my good name. I am neither obligated nor bound to carry out the will of someone else. I realize that pain and suffering are a gift, not a curse. What could be freer than that?

I’ve always been free, because I’ve never been broken. I can’t break, I can’t change, so there is no escape. It is not will or defiance. I can’t do things that I consider wrong or absurd, believe me I have tried.  I can’t give up my freedom, believe me I have tried. The very thought of stealing, lying, cheating, or being deceptive or doing something absurd causes my mind to schism, my heart to race and the sweat pours out of me, it drives me insane. I have always been like this and it has caused me to go through what many consider terrible situations.

I’ve never wanted to be or trade places with anyone else. I’ve been fortunate to see and experience things that most people only read about. I got to experience all of this not by hurting anyone, stealing, lying , etc., no, these events all happened because I couldn’t do what I was told to do. I couldn’t be a slave. Pain and suffering are a gift…probably the greatest gift one could receive.

Pain and suffering can teach one to have empathy, compassion and love for everyone, including those who have committed wrongs against you.  So, if you’re in pain and suffering, it may not seem like it at the moment but, you are surely blessed.

*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“Prison of Pain” by Franck Vervial
“Ice Eye” by Nicolo Paternoster

Personal: Battle with an Eating disorder



Why I Can Now Thank My Battle With an Eating Disorder


eating disorder
Photo by daniellehelm


The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts. – Marcus Aurelius

I still remember the day I forced myself to throw up for the first time.

I was sitting at home on the couch watching my favourite TV show at the time ‘Home and Away’. I was 13 and there was a young girl on the screen not much older than me who was anxious about her weight. It had just been someone’s birthday on the show and there was a giant chocolate cake in the fridge which she took to her room and engulfed. Ashamed, she quickly ran to the bathroom, stuck her fingers down her throat and forced every last bit back up again.

As ridiculous as it seems now, it’s like a light bulb went off in my mind that day. I thought to myself, ‘If she can eat delicious sweets and still stay thin by forcing herself to throw up then, that’s what I will do too.’ And so I did.

That day lead to me to an extremely lonely 10 year battle with bulimia. I spent my days pretending I was happy, healthy and confident yet, at night and on the weekends, I would waste hours binging on any junk food I could get my hands on – chips, packets of biscuits, cake and giant bowls of granola smothered in all of my favorite toppings.

I thought I was so clever and I got away with it, so it happened over and over and over.

Post binge, I’d wake up feeling disgusted with myself. ‘How could I have possibly let it happen again.’ I’d start each day by vowing to myself that I was going to consume no more than 1200 calories that day (because to me, 1200 was the magic number). Yet, by 3 O’clock in the afternoon, I was already planning my next binge. Dreaming of all of the delicious foods I was going to pig out on as soon as I go home from work.

It was like there were 2 different people living inside of me. The rational, smart, I have my life together character and then this monster who would snatch away any last scrap of self control I had, leaving me a broken down, helpless little girl.

There were times when I thought the relentless cycle would never end. It’s hard to imagine a life any different when you’re gripped by a disease so tight that it consumes your every waking thought.

Overtime, I began to realize how damaging my behavior was. The years of pounding headaches, dizziness, mood swings and stomach cramps were a constant reminder.

And, what about when I wanted to have kids, what kind of an example was I setting for them?

I knew that peace with myself had to come from within. No one else could help me if I didn’t want to help myself first. So, with that in mind, I slowly began to take the steps I needed to heal.

How I changed my life

Due to the complex nature of eating disorders, there is no one size fits all cure so, I had to figure out what worked for me.

I started by working on the relationship I had with myself and the relationship I had with food. Finally, I began to see that food was not the enemy. It was there to nourish and support me, not to act as the source of endless misery.

I read books, I journaled and I went to see a hypnotherapist who worked to re-train my subconscious mind. I started doing things from a place of love instead of fear. I stopped forcing myself to exercise for hours to make up for all of the bad food choices I’d made. I adopted a diet full of real, whole foods and I started exercising because I enjoyed it and it made me feel good.

Through the healing process I became more mindful and grew to be more compassionate toward myself and toward others. Louise Hay’s affirmation ‘I love and accept myself’ became my mantra and I would repeat it in my mind whenever negative thoughts tried to take over.

Today, I can see that my struggles of the past were a gift. Through my recovery I learned more about myself than I ever knew possible and if I didn’t experience what I did, I wouldn’t have grown into the happy, healthy person that I am today.

How you can change

1. Stop letting your negative thoughts and beliefs hold you back.

Your inner critic will try to convince you not to change. It will try to convince you that it’s easier to stay where you are and you will stay miserable. Only you have the power to shut that voice out.

2. Think about the life you truly want.

Where do you want to be 5 or 10 years from now? Picture yourself there – are your current behaviours guiding you in that direction?

3. Choose one small thing you can take action on today

What is one thing you can do that will bring you one step closer to where you actually want to be? Start now. Small actionable steps are what it will take. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it, it will SO be worth it.




About Tegan Westra

Tegan Westra is a writer, holistic health coach and whole food fanatic. She gets a kick out of teaching women how to fall in love with themselves through nourishing their bodies from the inside out . When she’s not whipping up nutritious snacks in the kitchen or guzzling a green juice, you’ll find her chatting about her most recent health and wellness discovery with anyone who will stop by long enough to listen. You can download her Free E-Guide ’12 steps to Your Happy Healthy Dream Life’ HERE or connect on Facebook with her HERE.

Have you or someone you know had an eating disorder? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

reblogged from: Why I Can Now Thank My Battle With an Eating Disorder (thechangeblog.com)