Hello Mindful Eating Family!


Hello and welcome to the 5-Day Bit Size Mindful Eating Challenge! It has taken me years to culminate and create this challenge into an effective, teachable online format to help you and others who find themselves in a complicated relationship with food.  Let me just give you a bit of hope – you can totally shift your relationship with food and seethe beginning of change in just 5 days.  And just like diets, exercise or other changes all in the name of health and wellness, your personal results will depend on your commitment level and belief + certainty that you can evolve and reprogram your past habits.

But before I get started with all the Challenge details, let me introduce myself for those of you who don’t already know me.  My name is Jennifer Hnat, pronounced NOT, as in “not what you think” and I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).  Before I became a dietitian who practices and teaches mindful and intuitive eating, I struggled with an abusive cycle of chronic yo-yo dieting, weight cycling, punishing exercise, and negative body image.  So yes, I can definitely relate to the fierce food struggle you are likely engaged in mentally, physically and emotionally.  I had a torrid and secretive love affair with sugar for almost three decades (and a bit of a disordered relationship with alcohol). The biggest obstacle we have to overcome is that nasty voice in our head. Ariana Huffington lovingly refers to as her “roommate.”

Which is why developing mindfulness is a valuable gift, if you are brave and willing to sit with your current beliefs and programming and not only make peace with that voice, but reframe your thought process around your food choices, eating habits and body image without judgment or expectation.  I realize that may seem like a big ask (and was likely a run-on sentence).  But if you are frustrated with how you interact with food, how you talk to yourself and your body, you owe it to yourself to explore this concept of mindful + intuitive eating.

Ask yourself, “can I fully commit to giving this challenge a solid effort for the next 5 days?”  I can promise you, after guiding client after client, then group after group through mindful eating challenges, it is not like any other challenge on social media or quite frankly, anywhere.  This 5-Day Bit Size Mindful Eating Challenge requires a pretty consistent commitment and mental fortitude. This challenge is for people who won’t drop out when it gets tough and have a desire to connect and learn more about yourself.  About WHY you eat when you are not hungry.  About WHY you overeat or crave your favorite foods and how to re-write your story. The beauty is that the struggles, the failure, the suffering is temporary and a catalyst for the true magic and transformation to happen.

Where did the food struggle come from?  The reality is it’s not about the food most of the time.  Food can be a crutch to cope with the overwhelming emotions and feelings of frustration, shame, fear, anger, unworthiness, resentment, anxiety, disappointment, boredom, loneliness, stress – fill in the blank.  Our emotions are in the driver’s seat causing us to default to our emotional cravings, old habits and less than optimal behaviors.  Food just fills in the blank.  Fills the void.  Fills space.  Allows us to check out so we don’t have to deal with and process the feelings, at least temporarily.  Food is a distraction and it works. Temporarily.

But then the emotions start to compound, our eating habits get out of control, we gain weight, perhaps a significant amount, and we lose sight of a healthy relationship with food and a connection to our innate belly wisdom.  We feel hopeless and lost.  Ugh, I remember the feeling well.  And quite honestly, I never saw a way out.  Stuck in an unhealthy relationship with my body and food for decades, I assumed it would eventually end but I never knew how to make that happen.  

Then this concept of mindfulness finally started to sink in and it was like the clouds lifted and I could start to see a spark of light at the end of the tunnel.  Looking back I wouldn’t change my path because I learned SO much and I’ve realized that I am always, exactly where I am supposed to be.  Remember that during your struggle times too.  You are exactly where you are supposed to be.  It doesn’t mean you have to like it or can’t use it as an opportunity to change, but always just embrace where you are without any judgment. Enjoy the journey, not just the summit.



The bottom line is, we know better, right?  We all know that we need to eat more fiber- and nutrient-rich veggies and fruit and “whole” foods, eat less junky foods, drink more water, move our body daily, turn off the electronics and get to bed earlier.  Problem is knowing better isn’t always doing better.  You have to live like you know what you know.  So what does that mean exactly?  

Well, if you know you need to eat more veggies, you have to physically consume more veggies.  That’s living like you know what you know.  If you know you need to drink more water because perhaps you struggle with high blood pressure, constipation or dehydration, then you physically have to drink more water each and every day.  That’s living like you know what you know.  

But in order to do that, you also have to identify the emotions, the triggers, the feelings that are causing you to avoid living like you know what you know and turning to food (or other substance) to cope with and numb the pain, the discomfort, the ickiness.  To stuff down the feelings you don’t want to feel.  And what do a lot of us do when we don’t want to feel?  We run to the pantry, the refrigerator, into the loving arms of food.  

Food will never ever solve the problem unless it’s hunger.  

Food can be a temporary detour from the pain, and easy distraction, but ultimately it causes more.  How ironic that we default to the quick and easy solution which really creates our biggest struggle.  But the way I see it… a wonderful opportunity for massive growth and change if you are ready and willing to make the effort, dig deep and do the work!  

So let’s take a step back -what’s been holding you back?  Why are you not living like you know what you know?  With all the internet information, books, magazines, family and friends on a diet, all the information and best intentions, swearing on people’s graves, people can fail after losing weight from dieting and go back to the habits that got them in trouble in the first place.  How is that possible and why does it happen?

I firmly believe that it is from a lack of MINDFULNESS.



Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment.  It is a day in and day out practice where you focus on what is happening inside, outside and all around you without judgement or expectation.  It is a powerful yet invisible process of becoming more aware and is the only way to explore the depth of your human spirit.  If you don’t practice mindfulness, you don’t get good at it.  So this is a crucial mental wellness tool to incorporate into your daily life to set you free.  

You can start with just paying attention to the quality of your breath. When you are relaxed, you take slow, deep breaths. When you are stressed, you may hold your breath OR take short, fast breaths.

Mindfulness and awareness is a deep dive and connection to yourself.  To your mental thoughts, that dialog between your ears. To the emotions that drive behaviors.  Especially behaviors with food.  With your thoughts.  With physical activity.  With hydration.  With sleep.  With stress management.  Mindfulness is the only way to replace a current habit of using food, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sex, shopping, gambling and any other addictive behavior to soothe and pacify the dissatisfaction, the disappointment, the stress, the anxiety, the loneliness, the boredom, the fill in the blank yucky emotion in our life.  Mindfulness is the answer you have been searching for without knowing it.  

I realize it sounds like a simple concept.  It is.  And some of the most simple practices can also be the most challenging to implement.  Initially, anyway.  Because you are going to start to understand WHY you do the things you do, without that judgy inner critic.  Without expectation.  Without beating yourself up for making your decisions.  You are going to reconnect with some feelings you might not want to experience.  That’s part of the process to heal.  But you won’t have the familiar comfort of food to run to (unless you want to and that is your journey so learn from it).  However, it might not work the same because now your level of awareness will be elevated.  

Shining a light on your behaviors is not always a welcomed process.  But the truth, your truth, reconnecting with the real you, all of it, will set you free.  By coming face to face with your habits in a non-judgmental way and understanding why you do what you do, you will create the space to wipe the slate clean and lay down the groundwork for personal positive changes.  For what you want.  And then the real healing can happen.  You can actually have a healthier relationship with all food.  That’s right, I said ALL food.  You can eat what you want, without guilt, shame or blame.  It takes time, but you can absolutely have a totally different and non-judgmental experience with the food you eat. AND adopt an “all foods can fit” philosophy. It’s truly revolutionary!

Modern science has found that mindfulness is incredible for change and growth.  And after working with this concept of awareness, consciousness or mindfulness for several years, especially when it comes to food, I was inspired to create a 30-day Mindful Eating Challenge.  The results that clients experienced, reconnecting to what, when, how and more importantly, why they are eating, is nothing short of life-changing. In this 5-Day Bite Size version, I want to give you a taste of the full program, a sense of format, and create a shift in mindset.

They ate what they wanted, without judgement or expectation, and felt content.  They connected the emotional dots to their feelings and food, and healed some deep wounds of the past.  They were able to become aware of how they were abusing food and easily stop any harmful patterns.  They learned to nourish their body instead of punishing it and then getting frustrated with themselves.  They learned to evolve their relationship with food which evolved their relationship with their bodies, family, friends and loved ones. They showed up, did the work, and made the commitment to really put forth the effort during the challenge so they could free themselves from their personal food prison.  

Some even noticed the beginning signs of weight loss without even trying, dieting or feeling deprived (ps: this is not and should not be your ultimate goal, because a) it disconnects you from listening to your true inner belly wisdom and b) if it doesn’t happen then you are disappointed. Once you start eating in a way that is aligned with your body’s needs, weight loss can happen but it also depends on your metabolism, sleep and stress levels. So for now, let’s not let the goal of weight loss take up so much mental space. You’ll need to pay attention to the real messages coming from your body and if you are focused on losing weight, the messages get misinterpreted.

Your goal during this challenge is to focus on discovering your 2-3 personal M.E.G.’s {Mindful Eating Guidelines}. These are the mindful + intuitive beliefs, behaviors, habits, patterns or thoughts that move the needle on the mindful dial for YOU. They are individual and will vary from participant to participant. So pay attention to the things that resonate with you are are making an impact in the manner in which you eat. Your MEG’s will evolve the more you work with mindful + intuitive eating and the more challenges you do (which is why people come back to refresh their skills, up level, and keep going!).

There is no grand prize for the participant that does every challenge each day perfectly. We are deleting that perfect mindset that diet culture teaches us, that black and white thinking, and focusing on finding our mindful GREY space between dieting and going off the rails. So think about why you are doing this 5-Day challenge now. Why you are attracted to doing this challenge right now? What is the driving force? You will also want to pay attention to your habits that you are NOT willing to let go of and what are the ones you’re willing to evolve?

If you are coming into this challenge with the hopes of losing weight, you will prevent the crucial connection to your innate belly wisdom.  And our ultimate goal is to reconnect to it so that your inner knowledge can drive your decisions on when, why, what, how and how much to eat. There is no shame in wanting to lose weight, but focusing on that will really slow down your mindful experience because instead of connecting to your body, your underlying focus will be “will this make me lose or gain weight?” It’s the best way to set yourself up for failure.

So as a Mindful Eating Family member, here is what will help you have a positive experience…Remind yourself that the wisdom and real gems lie in the messy moments. They will help each you why you do what you do with food.

This process is going to expose your food habits and struggles (yikes, I know) and allow the healing to begin in a very loving, compassionate, and non-judgmental way. Being fully present and in a balanced state of mind is the best way for you to tackle this challenge, to end your food struggle, and stop wasting so much time dieting and dealing with food cravings.  Stop the insanity of the emotional and mental struggles while allowing the space and freedom to start to build a healthier relationship with food and then opening up the mental space to build + lead your dream life!  

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Mindfulness is not something that is created overnight and it takes daily practice and willingness to become habit.  If you can see it as a fun journey to reconnect with your essence, then you can actually enjoy the process!  Especially when you are aware of the profound personal shifts that can take place.  For me to say I can have ice cream sit in the freezer for months without eating it or it tempting me is nothing short of a miracle.  Now I can have tempting treats sit on my counter-top without it calling my name.  But if I do want to eat anything, I follow my personal MEG’s {mindful eating guidelines}.  

You will create and decide which ones work out which ones work best for you during your challenge.  Ten years ago I could not have anything tempting in my house without it taunting me. All. Day. Long.  Now I can take it or leave it. If I eat it, I thoroughly enjoy it mindfully, without overindulging, without guilt, judgement, expectation or shame.  If I could have looked in a crystal ball years, no decades ago, I never would have believed my future relationship with food and my body.  But now that I am here and continue to work with the concept of mindful eating, I am so grateful that I can’t wait to teach it to everyone else.  My only regret is I didn’t work with this powerful eating philosophy sooner!

The belief that developing a new habit only takes 21 days is unfortunately, false.  New research shows that it takes more than 2 months before a habit becomes automatic.  In fact it takes 66 days – which is why I’ve created a 37-day INTENSIVE challenge to tack onto the end of the full 30-day Mindful Eating Challenge for those who really want to continue working with their personal momentum, up the ante and create next level healthier habits for life!  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves!  

Instead, let’s get started with your 5-Day Bite Size Mindful Eating Challenge.  Take it one day at a time, one challenge at a time, one bite at a time. This is YOUR challenge! Some challenges will be easier than others, and some you might not be interested in doing. But remember this is a challenge so make it worth your time and give yourself credit for joining the Mindful Eating Revolution I’m creating! 

WELCOME TO THE 5-DAY BITE SIZE MINDFUL EATING CHALLENGE!  I really appreciate your dedication to giving this 5-day challenge a fair go and focusing on finding your personal MEG’s – those mindful habits that will make a big impact on your relationship with food and your body. In the grand scheme of things, 5-days is a drop in the bucket of time. So take a deep breath, dedicate this time to creating a better version of you and a healthier relationship with food and your body.  Each day you are always just one decision away from changing your life and your relationship with food.  Remember, you are worth it so let’s get started!!!

Mindfully yours,