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Me, Myself, and Mindfulness

Since this is my very first blog post for ZEN Integrative Nutrition & Health, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about how I got into mindfulness in the first place.

Immigrating from Japan when I was 11 years old was very stressful. Not knowing a word in English, having no friends, and being the eldest sibling put a lot of burdens on me.

-oh also, growing up in an Asian household, no complaining was allowed.

Highschool Me

being silly on Facebook -me as a teenager

I remember first few nights, crying to my mom how I don't understand what people are saying in the class. -of course! it was only the 3rd day in the school after moving to US.

As years passed, I became more accustomed to the American culture and more able to communicate in English. But this experience has traumatized me throughout high school.

I never felt I was adequate, never confident in having a conversation with people, and alas public speaking scared me to death!

I didn't feel comfortable being me -scared to be judged by people and embarrassed to make mistakes.

Though I wasn't aware at that time, I was eating away my emotions and stresses. Especially at night while my family are asleep, I would sneak in the kitchen and grab bags of chocolates, cookies, ice creams and anything I can find in the kitchen. Then watch YouTube videos on the computer while eating. 😓

As you can imagine, I gained a lot of weight and I wasn't happy with my weight. So I would eat more to make myself feel better. It was a nightmare, a vicious cycle.

But one day, I was talking with my dentist -where I used to work part time, after school. She suggested me to read a book by Eckhart Tolle "The New Earth". Although the content of the book was a little hard to grasp (about spiritual awakening, consciousness vs ego, and enlightenment???) for a teenage girl, I got the message,

"to live a happy life, you must be present in me moment. Right here, right now".

It was my very first encounter with the mindfulness.

Fast forwarding to college, I attended Syracuse University where I discovered many different mindfulness based practices.

I joined a daily meditation group led by Student Buddhist Association, enrolled in the famous 8 week mindfulness based stress reduction course, and completed my honors thesis on mindful eating and vegetarianism.

As a nutrition major aspiring to be a Registered Dietitian, I combined my interests in nutrition and mindfulness.

nutrition + mindfulness = mindful eating!