Lynn Rossy, Ph.D. is a health psychologist specializing in mindfulness-based interventions. She developed a ten-week, empirically validated Eat for Life class that teaches people to eat mindfully and intuitively, love their bodies, and find deeper meaning in their lives. Lynn is a long-time practitioner of mindfulness meditation and yoga.
I love to teach mindful eating because I get to witness how
the act of eating can become the doorway to enlightenment! While that might sound
a bit lofty, it is truer than you might think.
So, let’s think about it a moment. When you eat, you are
bringing your whole body, heart, and mind to the table. I use “table”
as a metaphor for wherever you eat because I realize people eat in many other
places these days. However, wherever and whenever you eat, there are a multitude
of things happening besides the act of putting food in your mouth.
If you are eating because you are physically hungry, you may be satisfying the body’s need for nourishment. However, if you are eating because you bored, it’s probably because you haven’t learned to take of your mind’s need for creativity and meaning. If you are eating because you’re overwhelmed, it’s probably because you haven’t learned skills of resilience around stress OR learned to give yourself a deserved break in the middle of a busy work day. If you’re eating because you’re sad or lonely, it’s probably because you haven’t yet learned how to manage and attend to your emotions in a better way.
So, just this brief contemplation reveals there are many other things going on when we sit down to eat than just the act of eating and paying attention to the tastes and our satisfaction with food. Too often we find ourselves reaching for food when we are really needing something else. Because food is fast, cheap and easy it has become our go-to friend for comfort, rest, or even entertainment.
In the classes I teach called Eat for Life, we pay attention to all of the things that influence us to reach for food and meet each one with the appropriate practices and skills. Every one of us can benefit from learning more about what motivates or unconsciously leads us to the behaviors that become our lives. When we learn how to mindfully manage our thoughts and emotions, we are much more capable of eating when we are physically hungry and not eating when we aren’t. When we learn how to mindfully manage our thoughts and emotions, we also feel more balanced, informed, wise, peaceful, and even a little enlightened.
The next time you reach for food, pause for a moment and consider the following:
1. Are you hungry? What are you hungry for? Is it food or something else?
2. Notice how you feel when you pause and check-in with yourself. Turn toward your feelings and see if you can name them (e.g. sad, overwhelmed, happy). yourself is a radical act of self-love.
3. What do you need to do to best take care of yourself right now? Eat? Move? Rest?
These simple practices of presence, kindness, and self-care will
transform your life. You will not only learn more about your body and how to
eat for greater wellbeing, but you will quite possibly cultivate the most
important friendship you’ll ever have—the one with yourself.
If you want to hear more thoughts from me about mindful eating and transformation, you can listen to my recent podcast with Dr. Marcia Sirota.
35: Lynn Rossy - How Mindful Eating Transforms Our Lives - SoundCloud (1953 secs long, 146 plays)Play in SoundCloud
And you can also take the leap and join my ten week mindful eating and living class starting at the end of January. For more information click here.
Start your path to mindful eating and enlightenment now!
Join me in a ten-week LIVE online mindful eating program that improves your relationship with food, your body and your entire life. Whether you are someone wanting to better understand your own habits and patterns with food or you are a professional wanting to know how to present mindful eating to your clients, this mindful eating program will provide you with the insights you need to eat, move, and live with greater peace and delight.
Here’s what one participant said from the last class: “I found Dr. Rossy’s book and her class to be a transforming experience. As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I have knowledge about food and nutrition, but that’s exactly what often gets in my own way and in the way of assisting others! Dr. Rossy has shown me it’s much more than what you eat. Through practicing the BASICs of mindful eating she developed, I became aware of my own Food Rules that I have clung to for years. I also began applying mindfulness practices to other areas of my life and found more peace and happiness in daily living. If you want something lasting, I encourage you to sign up for Eat for Life and/or by the book. It’s worth every penny!” Nancy S.
During World Mindful Eating Month, The Center for Mindful Eating (TCME) will share daily social media inspirational posts along with practical exercises that explore 2019’s theme of “Stepping into Mindful Eating.” Why not take your first steps into mindful eating or re-vitalize your current mindful eating practice by joining others around the globe? Now is the perfect time to reconnect with yourself and the wisdom of your body.
There are many ways to participate: For daily updates and discussion, Join the Facebook group World Mindful Eating Month 2019. Follow TCME on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram throughout the month of January. Follow #MindfulEatingMonth, #MindfulEatingDay, #TCME, and #MindfulEating throughout the month of January.
Then on January 24, the
actual International Mindful Eating Day, there will be two sessions of
interviews with leaders in the Mindful Eating community, including myself. I started
serving as the President of TCME in July and am proud to be a part of this international
community that’s helping people enjoy their food and love their bodies around
the world. Go here to sign up for updates.
Lastly, for a deeper dive into mindful eating, join my ten week mindful eating class called Eat for Life starting at the end of January. The concepts in this class have helped thousands of people find peace with food and their bodies—untangling the complicated relationship with have with both through the practice of mindfulness. This class is NOT just about eating. It helps you have a balanced and satisfying relationship with your entire life. Your whole being shows up at the dinner table and this class takes your whole being into consideration as you explore your own particular issues and difficulties and find your own inner wisdom.
If you live in Columbia, you can join me at alleyCat Yoga Center on Saturday, January 26, from 2 – 4 p.m. for The Joy of Mindful Eating. This workshop will provide you with an introduction to mindful eating and you’d still have time to register for my class starting the next week.
Be sure to let me know if you have any questions. You can reach me at MindfulRossy@gmail.com.
For the past 12 years I have been helping people who struggle with how to eat and how to love their bodies. It has been my pleasure to work tirelessly alongside people from around the world doing the same thing at The Center for Mindful Eating, a non-profit volunteer organization.
The Center for Mindful Eating (TCME) annual bidding auction is in progress NOW! This is our biggest fundraiser in the year and helps us to keep our mostly free or quite inexpensive services available to everyone around the world. We offer training and education to professionals and the general public.
This auction is made up of all kinds of items, books, services, etc. from professionals that teach and promote Mindful Eating. You even have a chance to get my signed book and my Eat for Life class starting in January. You can view all items here.
TCME is currently going through a growth and development phase which promises to be quite exciting but we need your help. We are passionate to help people access their inner wisdom and to expand their hearts.
If you want to start your peace with food journey, now is your chance. If you want to help others in this worthy cause, your help is also welcomed! Maybe you have a friend or relative that could benefit from one of our services? Please feel free to forward this information to others.
With Thanksgiving literally around the corner, we are fast approaching the holiday season. Typically, in the United States, the season starts with Thanksgiving and goes through New Year’s Eve. And, as you know, the holiday season is filled with love, joy, giving, sharing, family, friends, and fun! (That’s the Hallmark card version, anyway.)
As you also know, it is exhaustively filled with food–much of it in the high fat and sugar category—and drink. The overwhelming amount of food that is offered and used as celebration during this next month and a half will probably be seen as both a delight and a saboteur by many. It’s a delight because we will have some of the foods that we’ve not eaten in a while, and they not only taste good but bring back fond memories of holidays past. But, this abundance of food can also be seen as a saboteur. The lure of food sitting around the office, at home, and in the parties you attend can seem irresistible, and you may eat it in amounts that leave you feeling too full, depleted, and discouraged.
Scenario One: By the time January gets here you feel heavy and run down. You’re ready to start the next new diet that you’ve heard about. (Somehow new diets always seem to pop up at the end of the year!) You start it on January 1 and by the time January 30 gets here you’re ready to ditch it and go out an eat whatever you want. Because you’ve deprived yourself for a month, you’re ravenous and you eat too much, gaining back any weight you might have lost. This depresses you and you say, “screw it,” I might as well give up. These diets never really work (which is actually true!).
Scenario Two: When January arises, you feel great. You’ve gotten through the holidays enjoying a treat from time to time, but never really overdoing it. Because you know you can have a treat whenever you want one. So, even though food has been abundantly available, you’ve picked and chosen the treats that you know you will enjoy and savor and you’ve left the rest. You practiced mindful eating and honored your body and your taste buds. The gift you gave yourself this holiday season was one of respect and love for the body you treasure. You’ve made sure to continue your exercise routines so that you feel energized and productive.
If Scenario One describes you more than Scenario Two, I would like to invite you to join my next Eat for Life Class starting in late January 2019. Eat for Life is a mindful eating class that can teach you how to eat in a way that creates great enjoyment with food but also honors your body. You will learn how to eat when you’re physically hungry and take care of your emotional needs in other ways besides food. You will learn how to cultivate a kind and loving relationship with yourself, knowing that this is the first step for engaging in self-care. And so much more…
More information about the Eat for Life class starting in January, as well as dates and times, can be found on my website here. Join me and make all of your holidays bright!
At the end of a week-long yoga and mindfulness retreat, I was standing outside the yoga room looking out over the expanse of the canyon that lies outside of San Jose, Costa Rica. There was a light wind blowing, as is often the case in the mountains at this time of the year. There were many palm trees dotting the hills across the canyon with their large leaves moving with the breeze. In addition, there were three large palm trees right above me that must have been 60 feet tall.
I stood looking at these trees above me then moved my gaze to view the trees across the canyon. Then something happened. It was like I disappeared for a time—I doubt it was too long. But, in the next moment of awareness, to my surprise, my arms were overhead flowing from side to side like the leaves of the palm trees. It was really odd. I don’t have any recollection of putting my arms up over my head to do this.
This story might sound a little strange, but it happened and I’m not sure how to explain it. It was like I had become one with the palm tree!
The conditions under which this experience happened were this. For a week, I had been doing yoga a couple of times a day (at least). There had been a ½ day silent mindfulness retreat. I had no schedule for a week of things that I had to do or accomplish. I ate three great meals a day that someone else cooked for me and I didn’t have to wash the dishes. I spent time in nature on eco-adventures throughout Costa Rica. I had a massage from a wonderful healer at the Wellness Center. There were lots of wonderful people around me who were like-minded and kind. There was a lovely pool that I lounged and read by. I had most afternoons free to relax and do what I wanted (or do nothing).
No doubt I was completely refreshed and tuned into my connection with something larger than myself. And, it was lovely. I remember this moment with delight.
Maybe this is why I return again and again to Pura Vida Spa in Costa Rica. I always feel more refreshed and energized after a week here than anything I do all year long. And, believe me, I engage in a lot of self-care!
I’m going again, to the same place this year and taking a group of people with me to practice yoga and mindfulness. I’d love you to be one of them. If you’d like to have a week away in the middle of the winter and experience your version of connection and time away from the busyness of life, consider a trip to Costa Rica.
If you’d like more information about the trip, please read my earlier blog piece here. You might not become one with a palm tree, but you will definitely come back feeling energized and refreshed.
I made myself sit today. It wasn’t an option. I was going to sit there whether I liked it or not. It’s not always like this. But, the last couple of days have taken all the skill developed over years of meditation practice to make it happen.
If you want to develop a daily meditation practice, there are a few things I’ve learned along the way that might make it easier. Here’s my personal list. Although you might find different supports along the way, these will definitely serve you.
Intention. The very first thing that will help you meditate regularly is to set an intention to practice. I decided many years ago that learning the benefits of meditation through my own practice was something I wanted to do and set that intention. You can’t just do this one time either. You need to set your intention regularly and remember your intention daily. Since you will start feeling the benefits of practice fairly quickly, this makes it easier to do.
Don’t listen to your mind. Even though you set an intention, your mind will NOT usually tell you to sit and meditate. In fact, your mind will probably come up with all kinds of reasons why you shouldn’t. “I don’t have time right now.” “I will do it later.” “I’m too tired.” “I’m in a hurry and have a lot to do.” I’ve heard it all! But, don’t be fooled by these foolish voices. They are not responding to your highest good.
Have a motto. I learned the motto, “Just Do It!” from Jon Kabat-Zinn and I offer it to you to use as well. (Yes, I know it is also the Nike ad and, regardless of whether you like Nike or not, it’s a great motto.) He went on to say, “You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it.” Many times when I’ve awoke in the morning and thought about my intention to meditate, heard the wailing voices in my mind discouraging me, I’ve also heard myself say “Just Do It!” This is an emphatic statement that comes from a deeper place than the wailing voices in my head. In my experience, the wise voice rises from deeper inside my body than the discouraging ones. Learn to listen for your deeper wisdom and follow it.
Place and time. It’s really helpful to designate a place in your home where you will meditate. If you do most of your meditation in one place it will softly call to you when you have ignored it. In addition, a regular time to meditate can also be helpful. You can play around with a time that works best for you. However, with that said, don’t be rigid about it. Anytime (rather than no time) is the best time to meditate. Even stopping and taking one conscious breath in line at the grocery store can keep your intention to meditate alive.
Length of Time. If you are taking a meditation class with instruction from a teacher, follow her suggestions. If you’re starting on your own, you could begin with five minutes and working your way up. The more you do, the more benefit you will achieve. My own practice varies some but, in general, I typically sit for at least twenty minutes. Of course, even five mindful breaths might be all you can do one day. Let that be okay.
Give up expectations. Particularly if you are new to meditation, what happens when you sit and meditate might take you by surprise. It won’t necessarily be a blissful experience. In fact, at least half the time it probably won’t be. “So why do it?” you might ask. Because when we learn how to be with ourselves through the bliss and the sorrow on the cushion, we will be able to more skillfully navigate the twists and turns of life off the cushion. That takes me to my next, and final point.
Check your attitude. Setting our intention and teaching our minds to be in the present moment is hard enough. But, the most important part for me is the attitude that I bring to practice, to myself, and to my life. When we sit, we pay attention to the present moment with certain attitudes. The attitudes that I find most helpful are kindness, compassion, non-judgment, acceptance, non-striving, patience, trust, beginner’s mind, and letting go. I would suggest picking one attitude that resonates with you or that you know you could use some work on and use it in your daily practice for a while. Currently I’m working on patience and kindness (I know, that’s two. But, I’m an overachiever!).
To help you in your daily commitment to practice, I have a number of meditations on this website that you can use. I also highly recommend Insight Timer as a meditation app. (By the way, I’m on there as well.) The Insight Timer app lets you know how many people you meditated with once you’ve finished which I find very comforting. There are many of us meditating at the same time all over the world. You are not alone, ever.
Good luck with setting your intention and making it happen. You won’t ever regret it!
Tuesdays, 7:00-8:00 pm October 9 – 30, 2018 alleyCat Yoga Center, Columbia, MO
Meditation is a timeless practice with a wide spectrum of benefits. Put simply, meditation is a practice in which we train our minds to maintain a steady focus in order to strengthen our attention, deepen our awareness, and cultivate happiness, well-being, and stable peace of mind. In this 4 week series, we will learn, practice, and discuss this topic, creating a solid foundation for your personal meditation practice while sharing time in conscious community.
A wide array of techniques such as mindful movement, breath work, and guided visualization will be introduced to calm the mind and draw your awareness inward. A short discussion, before and after practice, will allow you to deepen your understanding, self-reflect and connect with fellow students.
Chairs, blankets and cushions are available to make the practice comfortable. No prior experience is necessary.
Lynn is an internationally-known expert in mindfulness and a Kripalu yoga teacher at alleyCat. Lynn’s teaching combines the wisdom and clarity of mindfulness with the heart-centered, meditative aspects of Kripalu Yoga. Known for her joy and her passion for spiritual practice through both the Yogic and Buddhist Traditions, she has been studying, practicing and teaching yoga and meditation for 20 years. She has been a long-time yoga student of Ken McRae and trained in iRest yoga nidra with Richard Miller and restorative yoga with Judith Lasater. Lynn is particularly adept at teaching yoga and meditation to all levels of students. Her favorite mottos are: “If you can breathe, you can do yoga” and “Yoga should feel delicious!”
Saturday, October 6, 9 am -4:00 pm Daylong Retreat at Unity Center, 1600 West Broadway, Columbia, MO
“Know yourself so well that you will grow into your wholeness and greatness.” Catharine Larsen
“I have always been a seeker and I still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the teachings of my own soul.” Rumi
Mindfulness is not just about being aware, but using your awareness to instruct you in the cultivation of skillful behaviors, actions, and thoughts. In yoga it is called Svadhyaya, or self-study. This niyama (or observance) is about studying what drives us and what shapes us. It involves looking at the stories we tell ourselves and how these stories create the reality of our lives. Ultimately, through mindfulness and self-study we are able to release the false and limiting self-perception our ego has imposed on us and know the truth of our Awakened Self.
During this daylong retreat we will be in silence exploring mindfulness through a variety of techniques including:
Yoga and Pranayama
Loving Kindness Meditation
This Retreat is practiced in silence. We will enter silence and break silence together at the beginning and end of the retreat. The retreat is held at Unity Center.
Registration is required and space is limited. Please enroll early.Register and pay by going to the alleyCat webpage here. Pre-payment is required for this special event.
with Lynn Rossy, E-RYT 200 and Susan Mathis, E-RYT 500
Lynn Rossy, E-RYT 200 Lynn is an internationally-known expert in mindfulness and a Kripalu yoga teacher. Lynn’s teaching combines the wisdom and clarity of mindfulness with the heart-centered, meditative aspects of Kripalu Yoga. Known for her joy and her passion for spiritual practice through both the Yogic and Buddhist Traditions, she has been studying, practicing and teaching yoga and meditation for 20 years.
Susan Mathis, E-RYT 500 Susan began her intensive study of yoga at the Kripalu Center in 2001, completing both the 200 and 500 Hour Teacher Training at the Kripalu School of Yoga. She is deeply committed to the practice of yoga, pranayama and conscious living. She brings the elements of Kripalu Yoga to each class, inviting students to use yoga as a means to explore the space on the inside in order to access deep layers of awareness.
In a couple of weeks, I’ll begin meeting with people from around the world (online) to begin a ten week journey of mindful and intuitive eating. This journey is not just about food, but it’s about your entire life. Who you are as a person shows up at the dinner table, so when you learn how to eat mindfully and intuitively, you can’t avoid taking a look at the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that you engage in both at the meal and in the rest of your life.
Often people are a little confused about the differences between mindful and intuitive eating. I have taught both of them together for the past twelve years and believe they support and assist one another mainly by simply approaching the same ideas from a slightly different angle. Of course, mindfulness practice is at the foundation of my program and was shown, in my research, to be the necessary component for improvements in intuitive eating, body appreciation, and binge eating behavior.
Both mindful and intuitive eating have the same opinion about dieting and the diet culture we live in. The Center for Mindful Eating recently published a position statement that indicates it “does not endorse any philosophy or program that includes or promotes weight loss measures or procedures because evidence does not support that it deepens or improves an individual’s mindful eating practice.” Along the same lines, Intuitive Eating has ten principles which start with Reject the Diet Mentality. Both mindful and intuitive eating professionals believe deeply that the diet culture has done much to create enormous suffering and very little to help people understand their struggle with food and their bodies.
According to my research, people that showed up in my class were actively on a diet for an average of 39 percent of their lives—some starting their diets as young as five years old! And, the negative impact from this early indoctrination to dieting ranged from complete confusion about what and how to eat to feeling miserable about themselves.
If you’re tired of yo-yo dieting (losing weight but then gaining it back after you’re off the diet), want to end overeating, or simply want to learn how mindfulness can help you be more at peace with your body and with the food you eat, join me for my next round of classes starting September 3 and 4. There is more information about my class and registration links here.
My classes include both professionals in the field of nutrition, psychology, and other health-related areas as well as members of the general public. This combination of people in the class provides a rich learning environment for everyone. If you are a professional, CE credits are available for many professions.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at MindfulRossy(at)gmail.com.