Pitzer mindful eating space offers support for those seeking community and a healthy relationship with food

A drawing of various food items on a light pink background. There’s a carton of milk, a bowl of ramen, a chocolate cake, a strawberry, an apple, a piece of pizza, a cup of boba tea, a plate of eggs, and a piece of cheese.
(Joanne Oh • The Student Life)

CW:Eating Disorders

On Monday, Jan. 31 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Pitzer College Grove House, Hava Sprung PZ ’23 and Jules Schneiderman PZ ’25, wellness advocates for Pitzer Strive2Thrive, hosted a student-run mindful eating space. Created for folks to be in community with others who want to be intentional about their relationship with food, this space was open to anyone within the 5C community and all were welcome.

The program began with a safe space to relax, eat, reflect and chat with other community members in a warm setting. The Grove House’s famous cookies were provided. Then, Schneiderman led a short meditation and provided the group with a journal prompt to practice mindfulness and intentionality.

These practices were centered around self-compassion, which Schneiderman sees as crucial in fostering a healthy relationship with food. As Schneiderman points out, “if you have more self-compassion and understanding of your body, you start to treat it with a lot more respect and care.” 

Although Sprung and Schneiderman founded this space, they want to emphasize that this is a space for all community members to co-create. 

“Jules and I are the facilitators of this space,” said Sprung. “Yet, our intention for this is to be a community where we’re building what we need out of it… we’re building relationships, trust, and co-creating this space for everyone involved.”

“This is a space to be in a place of community for those healing or interested in fostering a mindful relationship with food,” one Pitzer sophomore and mindful eating space member said. This community provides them with a safe space to reset their perspective on a healthy relationship with eating. 

Throughout the program, Schneiderman and Sprung opened up the table for conversation and discussion — always optional — surrounding relationships with food, bodies, exercise and eating. Anyone was free at any time to step away from any conversation or discussion, no questions asked and are encouraged to do so if it makes them uncomfortable in any way. 

Sprung and Schneiderman chose the Grove House as a space to hold the program. 

“The Grove House feels homey, and that’s sort of something you lose when you come to college,” said Schneiderman.

In essence, Sprung and Schneiderman started this mindful eating space because it’s something that they felt was missing in the 5C community. 

“Disordered relationships with food and bodies in general is something that is so pervasive and I know so many people experiencing similar things… but it just isn’t being talked about,” Sprung said. 

Furthermore, Sprung mentions that eating disorders and disordered eating are “individualistic and isolating,” especially in a college context. 

“A lot is going on during this college transition – leaving home for the first time, learning how to eat in dining halls, stressful schedules, new friendships, pressure from others,” said Whitney Tawney, RD, CEDRD, the Nutrition Services Specialist at the Claremont Colleges. “All of these challenges, changes and increased stressors can often create the perfect storm, making students more susceptible to eating disorders.” 

Moving forward, those within the mindful eating community and beyond would like to see more open conversations around disordered eating and eating disorders at the 5Cs and the broader society. 

“Since eating disorders are not really talked about here — or anywhere to be honest — having this group makes me hopeful that there will be a day when more attention is brought to the gravity of disordered eating and bringing it up won’t be seen as attention seeking,” said another mindful eating community member. 

“It’s essential to work towards dismantling diet culture, weight stigma and fatphobia on campus,” Tawney said.

Similarly, Sprung and Schneiderman emphasize that this mindful eating space functions as a starting point towards shifting notions of diet culture and open discussions around disordered eating. 

“Eating disorders or disordered eating, or just issues with food in general are so prevalent, especially on college campuses, that it seems like such a great place to start creating a community around eating so that people feel more included and can have a community of support in healing processes “ said Schneiderman. 

The Mindful Eating Community Space meets from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Mondays at the Pitzer College Grove House. 

If you feel like you may be struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating you can make an appointment with Whitney Tawney by calling Student Health Services at 909-621-8222. You can also reach me at whitneyt@claremont.edu.

Sprung’s running resource list for disordered eating can be found here.

Facebook Comments