Looking for a New Year’s Resolution? Mindful Eating

By Zoë Dunning

Carrah Quigley will be conducting a Mindful Eating class for those who want to savor the experience of food.

“Mindful eating…puts the body in sync with food rather than allowing the tongue and taste buds to dictate what you eat,” says Carrah Quigley, a religious educator and meditation instructor. Quigley, a  national speaker who has a Masters in Philosophy, will be conducting a class on the subject on January 13 at the Grandview Parks and Recreation’s The View Community Center, 13500 Byars Rd.

Carrah Quigley, Mindful Eating Instructor.

She says that eating while doing another activity, like watching TV, sabotages your health. Your mind is occupied elsewhere rather than being aware of what and how much you are eating. “The goal of mindful eating is to get people to slow down and get away from quick, easy consumption. Away from pleasure, more into nourishment,” she says.

To practice eating mindfully, she recommends waiting five minutes before taking your first bite of a meal. Then slowly begin, taking three to five minutes to acknowledge all the flavors and textures in a bite. “Experience, enjoy, and engage with food, as opposed to mindlessly chewing and consuming,” Quigley advises.

The benefits of mindful eating include weight reduction, lower blood pressure, and lower heart rate. Food should be contributing to your health, not merely a commodity that you consume, she emphasizes.

“We often misjudge our food cravings. Craving for sugar and salt doesn’t equal candy and chips,” Quigley informs, pointing out that there are ways to satisfy our bodies’ cravings that are much healthier.

Her interest in mindfulness started when she was 20. She suffered from panic disorder and had a psychiatrist that taught her meditation. The practice helped immensely with her anxiety and panic attacks because of its emphasis on staying in the moment. She was able to shake off loneliness and engage with herself more. She learned to breathe through her panic attacks and deescalate her worry.

“I told myself, ‘I’m here to observe, breathe, and not worry about the how, when, and why,’” Quigley recalls. “I had quite a few traumas in my life. I managed them with religious studies and mindfulness, and I want to help others do the same.” Quigley has studied world religions. “I talk a lot naturally, so I thought that I might as well profit from it and become a motivational speaker,” she jokes. She also has a desire to solve the world’s problems and is burdened to do her part by teaching mindfulness and meditation practices.

In her January 13 class, she will teach the art of mindful eating. One activity includes the raisin experiment, a practice established by John Cabin, the father of mindfulness. The experiment consists of taking seven minutes to eat one raisin to savor the taste and texture. The class costs $25 and runs from 2-3:30 pm.

Quigley teaches various classes and workshops throughout the year, including: Meditation 101, Mediation for Anxiety and Depression, World Religions, private meditation instruction, yoga, and bhakti yoga. She speaks on spirituality, topics pertaining to American culture, and does autobiographical talks as well.

Her advice for someone looking for a New Year’s resolution? Learn how to breathe. If you’re looking to improve your life in any way, she says, the primary thing to learn is how to breathe properly through your diaphragm.

“If you don’t have 10 minutes, you don’t have a life.”

Quigley stresses. “Sit and observe your breath. Set your timer, make it non negotiable. Ten minutes in the morning. Ten minutes at night. No phone. No distractions,” she says.

To contact Carrah Quigley with questions, comments, or for information on her mindful eating workshop at Grandview Parks and Rec, email her at carrahq@gmail.com.

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