Brisbane based dietitian Lulu Cook reveals that she found solace in meditation, and also shares how mindfulness helped her become a better student, mom, and now a health provider. Here’s how Lulu answered the questions we had for her….
What made you decide to practice mindfulness in your life especially in your career as dietitian?
I first discovered meditation as a young dietetics student with an even younger toddler at home. It was a very hectic time for me, and the few minutes of breathing room offered by meditation were a welcome reprieve from the chaos that marked most of my days. As my daughter grew, and I progressed through my studies, I found that mindfulness practice benefited me personally in terms of how I felt moving through each day, whilst also making me a better parent and student.
How has being mindful helped you so far in your career as a dietitian?
I am a better care provider for having a regular mindfulness practice. I am able to stay really present with my clients, as well as noticing small details about what they are communicating – verbally or otherwise – that may offer valuable insight into their challenges and what will work for them as solutions. It also helps me stay calm in the midst of busy days, so there is a sense of ease and lightness that I bring into every meeting with a client.
Clients who struggle with binge eating, emotional eating, or food addiction particularly seem to benefit from learning mindful eating, and the research backs this up – mindfulness is a successful adjunct approach to reduce binge eating episodes, lose weight, and improve health parameters.
What are your tips on being mindful?
My blog at www.lulucook.com offers tips on mindfulness, often with a special focus on mindful eating, such as here: http://www.lulucook.com/mindful-eating-for-anyone/
Mindfulness does not have to be limited to a fancy seeming, formal practice on a meditation cushion. It is simply the process of staying present with our attention in a kind and non-judgmental way throughout the day, holding an intention to be self-compassionate no matter what we notice. We can use mindfulness whether we are at the petrol station (what smells do you notice? What do you see around you? Any sounds?), enjoying a dance class on date night (how does it feel in our belly when we’re laughing with our partner? Can we notice any tension in our shoulders and let that relax? How do our hands feel as we are holding onto a cold glass and having a refreshing sip?), or using an app such as Aura or Headspace to practice a guided meditation.
What challenges did you face in practicing mindfulness?
Finding the time can always feel troublesome, and shifting our perspective on what “success” means can be beneficial. For some clients, the only mindfulness they practice is to close their eyes before eating and take a few deep breaths, noticing how their body feels and how hungry or tense they may feel. Often, they report enjoying to add a moment of gratitude or appreciation then as well. And it’s just that fast! Apps such as Aura offer 3-minute guided meditations that can be quite centering as well. In general, it’s better to start with *any* amount of mindfulness, rather than holding yourself back until you have some imaginary, “perfect” amount of time that never seems to happen. Build success in small moments, and begin to enjoy the benefits of a mindfulness practice that fits your life!
Lulu Cook, RDN
Gut Feeling Holistic Health coach, author
The Complete Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners
Twitter and Instagram @GutFeelingCoachN
Lulu Cook RDN, the founder of Gut Feeling Holistic Health is a nutritionist and a health coach. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science in San Jose State University.
She and her partner relocated to Brisbane just over a year ago with her teenage daughter. Lulu likes to run, cook plant-based food, do collage, and meditate.
She believes addressing gut health, inflammation, and life balance provide transformational healing opportunities, and that there is no one diet that works for everyone.
Lulu’s recently published book, The Complete Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners offers a delicious, simple pathway to reducing inflammation for people at any stage in their health journey.
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