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Dr. Linda Mintle, Ph.Dthe Author
Known for her humor and practical advice, Dr. Linda will motivate you towards positive life change. A national expert on marriage, family and eating issues, her no-nonsense approach to everyday life and conversational style will inspire and uplift. For over 20 years, Dr. Linda has been in clinical practice as a licensed therapist, having worked in a variety of settings that have earned her several distinctions.
Dr. Mintle has authored 13 books: Raising Healthy Kids,
winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Award, selected as book of the week by Dr. Laura and written for parents as a prevention to child obesity and overweight problems; I Married You, Not Your Family
, a book aimed at strengthening marriage and preventing divorce endorsed by Dr. Laura; Making Peace with Your Thighs
, a book aimed at helping women get off the scales and on with their lives; Lose it for Life
, a bestseller co-authored with Stephen Arterburn that presents a total plan for losing weight and keeping it off; A Daughter’s Journey Home: Finding a way to love, honor and connect with your mother
, a book designed to help mothers and daughters develop more intimate connections; Breaking Free
, a six booklet series covering the topics of depression, anger and unforgiveness, negative self-image, stress, anorexia and bulimia, and compulsive overeating; Getting Unstuck,
a book that addresses the top three mental health issues for women; and Kids Killing Kids
, a teen violence prevention book. Her newest release, Press Pause Before You Eat
, a book that celebrates joyful eating and says goodbye to mindless eating, will be available Spring 2009.
Married for 34 years and the mother of two teenagers, Dr. Linda currently resides in Virginia.
Dr. Linda Mintle, Ph.Dthe Book Why did you write PRESS PAUSE …Before you eat?
I wrote this book to change our relationship with food, to make eating something we enjoy, and not something we do as we rush through our busy lives. Cultivating a life of mindfulness involves regulating what goes in your mouth for the right reasons. The concept of PRESS PAUSE is important to modern living. All of us need to slow down and think more about what we do and why we do it, especially when it comes to eating. Eating should be enjoyed, not a source of guilt or coping. When did you first become interested in working with food and eating issues as a licensed therapist?
About 30 years ago, I helped develop one of the first eating disorders programs in the medical school in which I was on faculty. Our patients were mostly women who struggled with anorexia and bulimia. Over the years, more and more patients were coming to the institute for help with obesity and overeating. I began expanding my practice to include compulsive overeating and the psychological side of dealing with obesity and weight loss. Why do so many of us have difficulty delaying gratification?
We live in a culture that reinforces impulsive behavior and does not teach self-control. Look around. We spend money we don’t have, make decisions we regret, act out sexually and basically do what feels good for the moment without much thought to the long term consequences. Eating is no exception. The mistake is thinking that the answer to all this abundance and availability is will power. Will power doesn’t win the impulsive battle. We need spiritual help here. Controlling our appetites requires more than human strength. It requires partnering with God and allowing His Spirit to empower us to make good choices. You have a story in the book about a woman who used food to try and satisfy spiritual hunger. Do we often confuse the desire for food with spiritual emptiness?
Yes. We have an appetite for spiritual things that is often denied. There is a part of us that longs to be connected to something bigger than ourselves. This spiritual hunger can’t be met through eating. Apart from God, we are restless. We were created to be satisfied by God. Until we develop an intimate relationship with Him, that spiritual hunger will persist.
Dr. Linda Mintle, Ph.Dthe Conversation DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
1. When we are too busy to think about how and why we eat, we eat mindlessly. Learning to PAUSE and slow down is an important part of eating better and with intention. Based on the information and suggestions in the book, what specific steps can you take to stop being so busy and take better care of yourself?
2. Review the signs of physical hunger. Each time you want to eat, go over those signs and decide if you are really hungry. If not, identify the cue or trigger that is prompting you to eat. For example, is it stress, an environmental cue, an emotion, a relationship issue, etc. Keep the diary suggested in Chapters 5 and 8. Track your patterns of unintentional eating and notice what triggers you the most to eat when not hungry. Share with the group which type of cues trigger you the most?
3. Think about the meaning of food in your life. How does your cultural background influence your thoughts about food and eating? How does your family and prior experiences with food play into how you use food today? Do you use food as reward, love and ascribe other meanings? Discuss these meanings in the group.
4. On a piece of paper, jot down the foods you tend to eat when you feel stressed? Now, come up with strategies to de-stress yourself without using food. Make a list of things you can do when stress begins to mount in your life. Try substituting those things the next time you feel the urge to eat when stressed. Share your successes with the group.
5. Look at your eating area in your house, condo or apartment. Does it look relaxing, inviting and do you even use it? Review all the environmental cues in Chapter 6 that make us overeat and check those against your own eating environment. What physical changes can you make to improve your eating area? Do you also need to commit to eating in that space and take more time with each meal? Finally, count the number of family meals eaten at the table. What can you do to increase that number given all the benefits of families eating together? Have the group discuss the changes they made.
6. Evaluate the important relationships in your life. Are they meeting your expectations? Are your expectations realistic? Do you feel your intimacy needs are being met? Include your relationship with God in this evaluation. Now, think about the times you may eat when upset or disappointed in these relationships? What can do you to resolve these issues other than use food to cope with negative feelings? Identify the relationships that lead you to eat without thinking? How often do you use prayer and time with God when you feel let down in relationships?
7. It is so difficult to make time to be quiet. Yet, the Bible talks about the need for a pause to refresh our spirits. Look up these scriptures: Psalm 131:2; Pslam 130:5-6; Isaiah 30:15, 18; Psalm 40:1-3; Psalm 51:16. Read these scriptures and discuss the importance of waiting on the Lord.
8. This week, notice a time in which you are having food thoughts when you aren’t hungry. Practice the skill of not resisting those thoughts but allowing them to come and go. Notice what happens to those thoughts. Write down your observations. Did this work better than trying to resist those thoughts? Did the craving pass? Practice this several times in the next week and report to the group on your experiences.
9. Take a few moments and examine your spiritual life. Do you practice spiritual disciplines or have you become complacent when it comes to spending time reading your Bible and sitting quietly before the Lord in prayer? If so, commit to those disciplines once again or perhaps for the first time. As you become more intimate with God, what do you notice about food cravings and mindless eating?
10. Eating in response to emotions is perhaps one of the most common things people do. Using the PRESS PAUSE principle, look at the chapter on regulating and tolerating emotions (Chapter 12) and come up with emotional rescues that would work. Decide which lifestyle changes you need to make and choose one to begin the process. Report on how it worked at the next study group.
11. Renewing the mind is a biblical concept that requires us to continually put on the mind of Christ. What can you do on a daily basis to fill your mind with truth and God’s thought? Identify ways that will keep you operating in truth and empower your spirit with the fullness of God.
12. The final chapter in the book focuses on how to execute intentional eating. Evaluate each of the ten guidelines in terms of your own issues with food. Which of these will be the most difficult? Which of these is already a part of you? What can you do to keep these guidelines in place and develop a positive, healthy relationship with food? Discuss these in the group.