Mindful Eating With Kids and Teens

  • 27 Feb 2015
  • 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM (EST)
  • Catamaran Hotel, San Diego, CA

Mindful Eating With Kids and Teens: A Daylong Workshop on Developing a Mindful Relationship with Food and Eating

Jan Chozen Bays, MD and Char Wilkins MSW, LCSW

Mindful eating isn’t just for adults. Kids have natural curiosity and enjoy making discoveries about food. Think of the life-long benefits of helping kids and teens find balance and joy in eating! Get ready to have fun, laugh with others and even at yourself, in this experiential workshop.

Research shows that children who begin dieting early are at greater risk of eating disorders later in life. Mindful eating helps shift a young person’s focus from external cues (calorie counts, airbrushed pictures in fashion ads, pop stars and idols) to natural internal cues of hunger and satiety. It is easier for children to re-learn a skill they had as toddlers, the ability to listen to the body’s innate wisdom about eating, than it is as an adult.

Young people in their teens are assaulted by a barrage of media through multiple technologies that demand their attention and provide distraction at the same time.  Striving for acceptance, love and success while trying to cope with peer pressure about body image, can result in disordered eating patterns such as restricting, bingeing, purging, dieting and fasting.  Mis-use of food to comfort, sooth, numb or punish is a growing health concern among youth.

In this workshop attendees with be active participants and observers as we are joined first by a group of children 7-12 years old. We’ll be leading them through mindfulness exercises that explore the 8 hungers and talking with them about how, what, when and why they eat. We can learn how to help children navigate the world of food and eating through non-judgmental listening and simple mindful eating exercises that can assist them in relating differently to food and eating.

Then a group of teens will join us to explore the role anxiety plays in eating, things that can be confused with hunger, conditioned familial patterns, and the relationship between mood and food. We’ll have a look at mindless eating as well as ways to work mindfully with texting/surfing/talking and eating at the same time!
Mindfulness learned in relationship to eating can spread to and enliven many other aspects of life. Attendees will be asked to engage with curiosity and kindness as participant-observers.

Attendees will:
• learn simple, practical ways to introduce mindful eating to children and teens
• be able to name and comment on 4 of the 8 hungers in the body
• be able to define what mindful eating is

Facilitators: Jan Chozen Bays, MD and Char Wilkins, MSW, LCSW
  The program will be led by experienced clinicians, mindfulness teachers and retreat leaders, Jan Chozen Bays, MD and Char Wilkins, LCSW. Char is a MBSR teacher certified by the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA. Jan is a pediatrician and author of Mindful Eating, A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food. The program draws from Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), current research, and the instructors' combined 26 years of experience working in public and clinical settings with a wide range of people with distressed eating patterns.

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