We are delighted to shine our September Member Spotlight on Dr. Lilia Graue
"In 2013, I opened Mindful Eating Mexico(R), a project devoted to mindful eating through which resources and programs in Spanish could be made available. At the time, and for quite a while, it was only me, with the intention and hope that it would soon become a collective of health professionals committed to the practice and to the principles of HAES and body positivity. This intention and wish have become a reality this year, and I couldn't be happier. We are now a collective of nine health professionals offering live and online services for individuals (mind body medicine and nutrition and psychological counseling), as well as mindful eating and compassion courses for the general public in Mexico City, Puebla, Monterrey, Merida and Cancun. As of this year, I am also teaching a brand new live training for Spanish speaking health professionals in HAES, Non-Diet Approach and Mindful Eating, which will go online in 2017."
Q. Would you describe your mindful eating program?
"Mindful Eating Mexico(R) is the first Center in Mexico fully devoted to mindful eating with adherence to the HAES principles and body positivity. We offer a range of services for the general public (individual and family consultation throughout the full life cycle in mind body medicine and nutrition and psychological counseling with mindfulness and compassion based practices as well as mindful eating and compassion groups) and trainings for health professionals."
Q: Please share with us your favorite resource for someone who is interested in learning about mindful eating?
"TCME is my number one, of course! I had the honor of serving on the Board, and I have been deeply inspired by the passion, dedication and generosity with which TCME continually creates interesting and accessible materials for anyone interested in mindful eating. Additional favorite resources of mine are Green Mountain at Fox Run, The Mindful Dietitian and Health Not Diets."
Q: Do you have a few favorite mindful eating tips to offer?
"One of my favorites is by Jan Chozen Bays: "When there's a party in the mouth, the mind needs to be invited."
Also, don't strive for perfection - actually, don't strive at all - simply allow yourself to connect with your intention to nourish yourself with kindness and honoring your needs and boundaries, as best you can, one bite at a time.
Patience and curiosity are key, and the beauty is we encounter at least three opportunities (i.e. three meals) in one day to begin anew!"
Q: Tell us a little how you came to this path with a story or memorable moment.
"I was a "closet" mindful eater and mindful eating facilitator for quite a while, at a time in which mindfulness in general was looked at with suspicion at best in my professional and personal contexts, before I "came out". Let me go back to the beginning (sort of, anyway). I began meditating and practicing yoga when I was a teenager, and a couple of years after I started my medical training I came to the Vipassana tradition. In a very Catholic, traditional Mexican social context I was always the odd one out. I was also the weird one as a medical student and afterwards physician - always interested in mind body practices and holistic approaches among a very Westernized and rigid medical field.
After I completed my training in eating disorders and psychotherapy, I joined the staff at an eating disorders & obesity clinic. Years of going against the flow without much success taught me that I could do things the mindful way without actually naming them. Throughout the same time, I found in my own relationship with food (I sadly did not escape the years of dieting that plague young women these days) that mindful eating was a wonderful antidote to the torture of eating in accordance with "sound nutritional principles" (i.e. the "perfect" proportion of nutrients, etc.) and the insanity of ever changing nutritional science. So I taught my patients mindful eating practices without ever saying 'mindful eating'. I taught them to meditate and to practice compassion, never saying it was 'meditation' or 'compassion'. A couple of times, when asked by colleagues or by the clinic director what I did with them, I simply described what we did - it was labeled "positive psychology", "cognitive technique", etc., which was fine by me.
Anyway, fast forward a few years, in 2011 I suffered a spinal injury which had me bedridden. A dear friend invited me to a workshop she said would help. The workshop was packed, and what was offered was a method that claimed to modify the DNA structure and cure through connecting with divinity via channeling done by a healer. Not my cup of tea, for sure, but it allowed me to see that there was a need for the helping professions to openly address the spiritual dimension of health. I already had a path, I just needed a different way to name it and some science to support it.
I knew mindfulness worked, and someone somewhere must have published something about it in the scientific health field. So I went online, found the MBSR program and trained in it. Then I thought - surely someone must have come up with a way to apply this to eating in general and to eating disorders in particular. So I went online again, found TCME and came out of the closet! I have benefitted from numerous professional trainings that have formally shaped what I practiced intuitively and from my spiritual tradition. I have connected with the most wonderful, inspiring women, have found a sense of belonging, an outlet for my passion that can be of service, and more joy and gratitude than I ever thought possible."
Q: What question have you encountered about mindful eating or mindfulness that makes you cringe?
"So, if I do mindful eating right, will I lose weight?" It makes me so sad that our culture (including that of the health professions) is still so weight-centric. It also makes me sad that the diet mentality is so pervasive that mindful eating is seen (or made to become) yet another diet, which one either "does right" or "breaks". Mindful eating is a practice, a path, a way of relating to food and eating, a way of nourishing ourselves in a way that honors our body, other beings and the environment, and it is about awakening to the experience in this moment and making wise and compassionate choices for ourselves. It is most definitely not a diet, or a technique to achieve a certain outcome."
Q: What is your vision for mindful eating? What do you want mindful eating to help or cure?
"My vision for mindful eating is that it engenders kindness, compassion, gratitude, wisdom and peace that can ease so much suffering around food, eating and our bodies. As a society, we seem to be continually at war - with ourselves, with our bodies, with our weight. Hate, disgust, shame and guilt are so pervasive in our relationship with food and our bodies, and they are continually spread through presence, language and actions. I wish for mindful eating to help us heal profoundly, enduringly."
Q: Would you share with us why you chose to join The Center for Mindful Eating?
"Like I said, it was the first place in which I could "come out of the closet" and find a sense of truly belonging, professionally speaking. It was a beacon of light and wisdom for me. I could find awesome resources to read, listen to and, above all, a true community of like minded individuals who share the same passion and mission. Through TCME, I have met my greatest heroes and teachers, and a world of possibilities has opened for me. TCME is what inspired me to open Mindful Eating Mexico. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
Que estés bien, feliz y en paz.
Dra. Lilia Graue Olmos
Medicina y Nutrición Mente Cuerpo
Conducta Alimentaria e Imagen Corporal
Programas Basados en Mindfulness y Compasión
Calle del Hipo, Chimalistac, 01070 CDMX
Tel. (+52)(55) 75871968
Cel. (+52)(1) 5555089246