By Susan Zilberman
Women in film are forces of nature, doing what they love to make their voices known. The downside of dedication is juggling multiple responsibilities for extended hours can make you so busy, self-care inadvertently takes a back seat. That’s where Mindful Eating comes in. The mind/body practice is about much more than food. It illuminates areas in your life where you need more attention to self-care, and offers tools for insight and self-growth. My 10+ years as a certified Mindful Eating coach (The Institute for the Psychology of Eating and Am I Hungry) has shown me that when it comes to personal relationships to food, each of us is unique, and nothing can be taken for granted. That includes identifying hunger.
Usually cravings are driven by emotional, physical, and environmental triggers. Mindfulness works because it helps you connect to your body’s innate wisdom, and create realistic long term changes; this extends to all aspects of life, and promotes a deeper sense of wellbeing.
Pause & Wisdom
No matter how busy you are, make a habit of pausing every couple of hours for at least a few moments. Breathe slowly through your nose into your belly. Notice sensations in your body as well as your thoughts. Even a momentary timeout can calm the nervous system and can offer insight into whether you’re feeling hungry – and it will let you know when it’s time to refuel. Notice different cues, such as an empty stomach, growling or hunger pangs, shakiness, headache, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. These signal you may be experiencing physical hunger. With this new awareness, you are less likely to overeat because you are satisfying your true needs. For some assistance, try a Mind Body Heart scan meditation.
Morning, noon, and early evening, your body is primed to metabolize the food it needs. However, if you find you’re not hungry when these times roll around, it’s possible you might be overeating, restricting your intake, or a combination of the two. Eating allows you time to refuel and nurture your body and mind. Select foods that keep you energized, calm, and balanced.
Disconnect from work and focus on the moment on your plate. When you have a meal, resist the urge to multitask. Set devices aside, and draw your undivided attention to the food. Chew slowly. Regularly incorporate unfamiliar foods along with familiar favorites; Turn mealtime into a multi-sensory experience.
Here’s another reason to up your water intake: dehydration is also an eating trigger… Believe it or not, it’s not always easy to distinguish hunger from thirst. Working nonstop can fracture focus, and draw your attention to external happenings. You may not even realize when your body needs water, and might mistake the feeling for hunger. Each sip is a chance to nurture your body. Avoid sugary drinks and excessive caffeine, as they deplete the body. Sure, a sugar or caffeine boost feels good and may help you concentrate, but the lethargy crash later won’t be worth it.
On set, or working at home, before you reach for something unhealthy, or mindlessly down cups of coffee, pause, and ask yourself what might feel good & hydrating. Consider chamomile, lavender, hibiscus tea, lemon/cucumber or spring water.
Constantly pushing outside your comfort zone and interacting with a wide range of personalities can be challenging and stressful. Even microlevels of stress are experienced in the body and mind. Stress is a well-known eating trigger that it may cause you to reach for comfort food. Being that emotional eating doesn’t satisfy the root cause, you’re more likely to overeat, and feel energy zapped after. Instead, become tuned into the onset of anxiety. And find your own ways of creating calm; walks in nature, drawing, looking at art, yoga, meditation, are just a handful of ways to reduce stress. Try a Stress Reduction & Mindful Eating Meditation.
Snacks & Your Health
When a craving hits, be mindful of your choice of comfort food. Make life simpler by having have an abundance of choices available. High protein, low in saturated fat foods, like heart-healthy nuts, are a great option. Try filling a large Mason jar with walnuts, macadamia, pistachio, and/or Brazil nuts, rich in omegas. *optional: add dry fruits (cherries, blueberries, mulberries) and small amounts of dark chocolate chips. Fill small bags for when you’re on set, or on the go.
Once you expand awareness, making adjustments in your daily habits will seem natural and intuitive. Ultimately Mindful Eating works because it’s not restrictive and comes from within. Trust your body’s wisdom to choose what you need when you’re hungry, and allow your metabolism to do its job. Refrain from self-judgement. Instead, strive for balance; that includes the freedom to enjoy foods you love too. Have them in moderation, slowly. And remember, your body is constantly communicating with you. It might just be a sensation, thought, or subtle feeling, but it’s always worth listening.
Welcome to NYWIFT, Eileen Wolter! After working as a motion picture lit assistant at CAA, working on the Universal lot, and writing lots of coverage in LA, Eileen brings her creativity to us in New York! She holds a BA in Art History & Film from Vassar College, studied acting as The Atlantic Theater Company and The Actors Studio/The New School, and studied writing at UCLA, NYU, Sundance Collab, Stowe Story Labs, and NJ Play Lab. Eileen tells us about her fascinating family history, covering Fashion Week for Comedy Central in 1993, and attending SNL dress rehearsals.READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, Jaya Mahajan! Originally from Mumbai, India, Jaya is a filmmaker with Executive Producer credits for documentaries and factual shows that have been on networks such as CNN, BBC, Discovery and the National Geographic Channel. She spent the initial part of her career as a business reporter and producer with CNBC and Bloomberg. More recently, she has been running an award-winning production company, creating films and documentaries and teaching journalism students in Malaysia and Singapore. Jaya recently moved to New York and is looking forward to focusing on projects that highlight and amplify traditionally underrepresented, diverse, and marginalized voices.READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, Victoria Duncan! At age 12, Victoria began making films, struck by her power to engage an audience using her imagination. This led her down an exciting path to SNL, The Blacklist, The Sinner, Vice, and branded content for huge companies like Wells Fargo and Amazon, just to name a few. Her LGBT+ ballet film I Am Enough was adapted for the stage and performed at New York City’s iconic Lincoln Center. She is currently working on the screenplay for a feature film. Victoria walks us through her incredible journey, from her childhood favorite movies to presenting a piece to the United Nations.READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT Pallavi Bakshi! Following an incredible career in investment banking and equity research, Pallavi Bakshi is now part of Disney Streaming’s Strategic Finance team. Any given day might include reporting to executives, preparing data sets or market research. She has worked on projects for iconic brands in the Disney portfolio, including Marvel and Pixar. Pallavi shares more about her dynamic days here!READ MORE