The Center for Mind-Body Medicine

What are you hungry for? A very personal inquiry

This is a guest post by Jerrol Kimmel, RN, MA, Mind-Body Medicine faculty member and Food As Medicine graduate.  Jerrol has created a highly effective synthesis of the two programs called What Are You Hungry For? Her clients report remarkable results from doing carefully guided ‘root’ work with Jerrol: significant, sustainable weight loss balanced by what one client describes as mindful awareness around food that is , “…sacred and deeply transformative on many levels.” She tells her clients, “The way you do food is the way you do life.”

I know this from my professional life and my own personal challenges with emotional eating:  all the information in the world about the “right” things to eat or the “right” diet won’t help if you don’t find another way to navigate life without turning to food to cope.

First, discover the difference between physical and emotional hunger and how to feed each of them in the right way. Once food finds its rightful place, to feed the hunger of the physical body, then the next piece is to discover how to feed the emotional hunger; how to express your feelings appropriately and get your underlying needs met.

It begins with a readiness to change and a vision of what you want.  It’s not a number on a scale; it’s how you want to feel in your body – alive, energetic, healthy, whatever.

I have people do three drawings:  their relationship with food, their biggest problem, and how they would like to be.  I use imagery to help them embody the third drawing, so this feeling, this vision, becomes what they are choosing towards each time they want to eat.

Many people who have been on diets look to external authority to answer the question, what should I eat? It is never as simple as eat this, dont eat that for those who have learned to use food to anaesthetize and edit life.

I help people listen to their own body’s needs through guided imagery.  For example, I have each person imagine a wise being, a helpful guide, that can answer the question, what is one thing I need to remove from my diet or bring into my diet to help me move towards the vision of how I want to be and feel in my body?

Through this process of asking, each person discovers their own voice and begins to right their relationship with food in a way that reflects their own preferences, their body chemistry and their cultural and personal history. This inquiry and practice allows for a true transformation of their relationship to food that is sustainable for a lifetime.

Read more about Jerrol on the Center’s website. She lives and sees clients in San Francisco, CA, and via phone around the country.


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About Jo Cooper

Jo Cooper, Online Communications Editor, is the editor of the Centering blog. She posts on www.facebook.com/MindBodyMed and tweets @MindBodyMed and about marketing, design and photography on @JoCooperStudio. Questions about the blog? Contact her at Centering@cmbm.org.

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  • http://www.marchiandsmith.com Travis Smith

    Thank you! This seems like a very wise place to start. Where I have trouble is in, after the asking, the hearing, or receiving the information that is the jewel of the process. I am open to learning how….

  • Jerrol

    Travis,
    I know, the listening part is so essential and sometimes we have been so out of touch that we have lost our capacity to listen. For me, so often, it was because I did not want to listen to what was really going on, that I used food to escape. So listening is just like any skill, just has to be practiced. I find it is always helpful to begin with the mindfulness piece, the simple breathing and just being with the body. Food has always been a way to get out of the body, listening is a way to practice being in the body. So just breathing and asking… and being patient. Sometimes the answers come in something you hear, or some feeling in your body or just a knowing. I wonder how you will begin to know how your body communicates with you…then the next piece is acting on what you hear, it is a way of experimenting and then discovering what you find out.
    Warmly,
    Jerrol

  • Nancy Long

    Hi Jerrol,

    I could just see your sweet, calm face saying these words above. Hope you are doing well. Thank you again for all the guidance and help you gave me during my recovery. You are so often in my thoughts,

    Hugs,
    Nancy

    • Jerrol

      Nancy,
      What a sweet surprise to hear from you. Nice to know we are connected through the CMBM. You are a testament to walking the healing path, to come face to face with your body and life and enter whole heartedly into doing whatever it takes to become and stay healthy.
      I look forward to our paths crossing,
      You are always in my heart,
      Jerrol

  • naomi

    jerrol-
    such beautiful, sensitive work. i wish i could join your group! maybe we could figure out how to write this in a book??!!

    miss you-

    • Jerrol

      Naomi,
      So good to hear from you. I have actually been working with some people long distance with this program. Meeting weekly on the phone and I send the handouts by email.
      I have been encouraged to write and maybe some day.
      Good to feel your support. This program has helped to transform my own life and I learn so much every time I facilitate someone else. I am always the teacher and the student!
      I hope all is well with you,
      Jerrol

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