Can you recall when you last paid attention to what you were eating, when you truly savored the experience of food? Often, we eat on autopilot, chowing down a meal while our attention is focused on the TV or the screen of our devices or a book, failing to derive the full benefit of the dietary choices we have made.
On a mission to keep our community in optimum health, Susan Zilberman is changing the landscape of our perspective toward eating, specifically in making judicious food choices — and dieting is not on her menu.
“I went on every diet since the age of 16 but none of them worked,” said Susan, a personable retired educator whose passion for teaching is evident in her affinity for coaching her clients to success. “Even when I lost weight dieting, the weight always came back when I went off the diet. After years of unsuccessful results, I concluded that the best way to achieve success is to follow the body’s wisdom. Diets don’t work because they ask you to restrict what you are eating. They’re based on an external set of rules. Diets are a temporary fix for symptoms and only temporarily change behavior.”
Realizing that “it’s not just about looking good, but about feeling good,” Susan decided to not only change her own perceptions regarding eating, but to inspire others to do so as well. Seven years ago, she began studying Mindful Eating and became a certified coach in 2012. As a Mind Body Eating Coach who earned certification from the Institute for the Psychology of Eating and the Am I Hungry? LLC program, she coaches her clients in a way that helps them manage the modern challenges with food, weight, and body image.
“I never tell my clients what to eat. We use mindfulness to pay attention and become aware of what is happening internally — in our body, mind, and heart — and outside of us, in our environment. We view this without criticism or judgment.”
Key to this self-awareness is the ability to recognize when we are hungry and when we are satiated. Prior to biting into the tempting carrot muffin that we think we crave, Susan advises us ask ourselves, “Am I physically hungry?” A favorite food will provide greater sensory satisfaction when we are truly hungry and can savor all of its taste and texture.
“What we are looking for is not necessarily to lose weight but to achieve and maintain optimal health,” she says. “We can do so by becoming aware of our mind and body’s relationship to food. Mindful eating is the best way to change the unwanted behaviors. You don’t have to purchase special products or foods; it’s using what you already enjoy eating to build a good relationship with food.”
“Moreover, developing a positive relationship toward food and the ability to rely on the body’s wisdom may improve digestion and energy levels, as well as relieve the guilt and shame we feel about not being able to ‘control’ ourselves when it comes to food.”
That she is a highly sought-after coach is not surprising. Compassionate, kind, and congenial, she offers her clients the utmost level of confidentiality. A coach affords a client an audience, a listener, and a person who will hold you accountable and help you learn to be comfortable around food in a safe and secure environment.
Just as she has transformed the lives of countless satisfied clients, Susan will enhance yours as well by teaching you to take charge of your decisions about eating, physical activity, health, and self-care. You will discover your inner expert and learn to listen to your body. With Susan’s support and encouragement, you will learn how to enjoy food without dieting and cope with stress and other feelings without food.
Consider the following two testimonials that are representative of Susan’s international client base:
“I can’t thank you enough for your help and understanding, listening, caring, advising, and support through this process,” shared B.M. of Brooklyn, New York.
“I just wanted to thank you because the chagim have been so much easier for me since the Mindful Eating approach and since you have coached me,” commented S.F. of Jerusalem, Israel. “It’s like a different world; it’s just a much less anxiety-provoking lifestyle. I really feel a difference from the work we did this year. I want to specifically thank you for all that. It made a tremendous impact on my life.”
For Susan, assisting her clients in taking charge of their lives is a labor of love. “The best part of coaching is that I love what I’m doing,” she shares. “I always tell my clients, ‘You can take charge! My goal is to create a community of Mindful Eaters. The goal of Mindful Eating Coaching is to help clients who feel out of control with food and whose mood is affected by their weight and body image to learn to be in charge of when and what they eat so that they can feel beautiful in their bodies and reclaim their energy.”
Recently, Susan added Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery to her practice. Clients can be coached prior to and post surgery. In order to have a successful outcome, it is especially important for people who opt for bariatric surgery to heal their relationship with food.
Mindful Eating Coaching by Susan Zilberman is available in person and online via Zoom.
Rochelle Maruch Miller is a contributing editor for the Five Towns Jewish Times. She is a journalist, creative media consultant, lecturer, and educator, and writes for magazines, newspapers, websites, and private clients. She welcomes your comments at Rochellemiller04@aol.com.