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Mindful Eating

Meditation teacher Rivka Simmons recently released a guided meditation and stress reduction CD, "Creating Calm in Your Life."

The busy days of summer often bring about an endless buffet of hot dogs, hamburgers, and sweet sticky stuff. We yearn for the junk food, and many of us use the warmer months as an excuse to indulge. But what if eating didn’t cause guilt, and resulted instead in maintaining a healthy weight?

Rivka “Bonnie” Simmons ’87, a psychotherapist in Medford, Mass., says that when people are more aware of what they consume—and when—they can forego diets and eat what they want. At Oberlin, she says, she and her female friends struggled daily with their weight and eating. Desperate to understand their feelings toward food, Simmons developed an ExCo class called Women and Their Relationships with Their Bodies. “I had more questions than answers,” she admits. “But the course did explore unrealistic standards of beauty and brought us together as allies.”

It was a supportive focus that now forms the core of Simmons’ 10-week program “Have Your Cake and Eat It Too! A Gentle Approach to Food, Your Body, and Yourself,” which teaches participants to recognize their bodies’ hunger signals. By focusing on the how to’s—distinguishing between physical and emotional hunger, stopping food deprivation, creating a healthy body image, and maintaining a natural weight, Simmons offers an alternative to the diet/binge cycle.

The same techniques are presented in her “Ask Rivka,” advice column, which runs in several Boston newspapers. “I hate seeing people reject themselves and waste their time on trying to be something they’re not,” she says. “I’m giving people their power back.”

These Obies Mean Business

Susan Li '98, Arion Petasis '98, and
Balint Gergely '00

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management was home this year to a small band of Obies working toward their MBAs. Susan Li ’98 worked for five years at two health care consulting firms in Washington, DC, —handling policy research and consulting for the federal government and pharmaceutical industries—before moving to Chicago last fall to study health industry management and marketing. She plays the violin with the university’s orchestra and peformed in the school’s annual musical. E: Arion Petasis ’98 (center) graduated from Kellogg this June with plans to work in the business side of the health care field. He worked in management consulting for four years in Chicago and enjoys soccer, travel, and international politics. Bálint Gergely ’00, who lived in Minneapolis for three years, worked in international marketing at Northwest Airlines and traveled the world with his partner Daniel. He finished his first year at Kellogg this spring, majoring in marketing, international business, and strategy. An active Oberlin volunteer, he also sponsored trips to Asia for two students. E: balint.gergely

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