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Nutritionist presents on mindful eating

| Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Jocie Antonelli, nutrition and safety manager for Notre Dame Food Services, gave a presentation on mindful eating as part of the McDonald Center’s Mindful Mondays.

Antonelli, who also offers nutritional counseling, said mindfulness is closely related to intentionality and explained how both are related to food in particular.  

“Taking that idea of mindfulness and applying it to eating is, very simply, having an awareness of what you’re eating, why you’re eating, how you’re eating, all those kind of things that that involve eating, and being present in that moment,” she said. “We’re all busy, we’re all trying to fit a lot of things into our schedules, so we don’t always have time to eat without multitasking.”

Freshman Reinaldo Angola-Hernandez said he took an interest in the presentation because he hopes to improve his health habits in college.

“I was interested in going to the event because I want to build super healthy habits while I’m at college, partly because I want to prove to myself that I can make good choices without having my mother behind my back all the time,” he said. “Also, I’m always looking for any free events offered on campus that will help me grow as an individual.”

Antonelli referenced New York Times bestselling author Dr. Susan Albers multiple times, saying Albers highlights mindfulness as a tactic to remove obstacles that prevent an people from determining their bodies’ dietary needs.

“Many social and environmental factors can stand in the way of being able to accurately decode your body’s feedback. Mindfulness helps you break free from routine eating habits by examining the thoughts, feelings and internal pressures that affect how and why you eat or don’t eat,” Antonelli said.

Antonelli also said Albers suggests it can be helpful to ask yourself questions about your environment, habits and body signals before eating to better register your body’s needs.

To end the presentation, Antonelli led participants through a meditation that focused on fully savoring the experience of eating a piece of chocolate — listening to the crinkle of the foil, inhaling the smell and letting the chocolate melt in the mouth for a few moments before chewing.

Angola-Hernandez said the chocolate meditation was a new experience for him.

“I thought [the instruction] provided new and interesting insights, and I especially liked the chocolate meditation because I have never heard of that and I honestly thoroughly enjoyed those two tiny Hershey kisses way more than usual because of it,” he said. “I’m kind of excited to eat again just so I can actually slow down and savor every bite.”

Antonelli said it’s important not to confuse mindfulness with being overly critical or strict with your diet.

“Every item you’ve enjoyed can be part of a balanced and healthy diet,” she said. “It just takes moderation.”

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About Megan Valley

Megan Valley is one of the Associate News Editors for The Observer. A junior majoring in English and the Program of Liberal Studies, she hails from Flushing, MI and lives in Flaherty Hall.

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