Chicago. It is a windy city. It's also a fabulous, vibrant metropolis that's packed with a variety of cultures, languages, cuisines, places to go, and things to do. There's always something new to see in Chicago!
Recently, I attended a Body Image Workshop in this bustling city. This excellent workshop was presented by the highly respected dietitians, Marci Evans, CEDRD, cPT, and Fiona Sutherland (The Mindful Dietitian) APD, RYT.
But before I talk more about this I'm-so-glad-I-attended-workshop, I want to add that my wonderful hubby, Colin, traveled with me to Chicago so that we could spend some quality time together when I wasn't at the workshop. Yep. He's such a keeper.
Colin and I drove to Chicago the day before the Body Image Workshop began. When we first arrived, we checked into the hotel, Courtyard Marriott, which is located in downtown Chicago right off of Michigan Avenue. The room was very clean, offered a parking garage for a fairly reasonable price by Chicago standards, and was located close to the Magnificent Mile. The Magnificent Mile consists of over 460 stores, hundreds of restaurants, a wide assortment of museums and hotels, and lovely sightseeing. Needless to say, this was a terrific location!
After getting situated, Colin and I walked to Navy Pier, which was less than one mile from our hotel. Given that Navy Pier offers 50 acres of parks, a children's museum, lovely views of Lake Michigan, a variety of restaurants and shops, and a 15-story Ferris wheel, it's a great stop! Here's one of the views of Lake Michigan that we enjoyed while we explored Navy Pier.
After leaving Navy Pier, Colin and I walked to the Frontera Grill for dinner. Since I adore the culinary rockstar, Rick Bayless, and this is one of his restaurants, this was a big deal! As soon as we were within feet of the restaurant, we could hear salsa music playing - which of course made our hearts happy - in addition to being greeted by a warm and attentive staff. Now for the food! It's impossible to describe just how scrumptious our meals were. To begin with, the margaritas we ordered were the BEST that we had enjoyed - anywhere. The mixed seafood tostada - which is featured below and consisted of succulent shrimp, scallops, fresh mango, spicy salsa, avocado, and cilantro - was spectacular.
The smoky chicken breast that Colin ordered for his main course, which was served with roasted tomatillo-árbol chile salsa, a creamy cilantro sauce, garlicky beans, and roasted carrots and parsnips, was insanely delicious.
While I ended up liking Colin's dish the most, I really liked the steak tacos below - which were accompanied with roasted poblano peppers, yummy beans, a mixture of salsa, and guacamole.
And then we enjoyed this lovely vanilla flan which was accompanied with fresh mango. While we couldn't finish the flan, we savored every bite!
As we walked back to our hotel, we continued to rave about what a delicious meal we had just eaten. I highly recommend Frontera Grill! Once we got situated in the hotel, my heart felt happy thinking about the fact that I would be attending the Body Image Workshop the next day!
THE BODY IMAGE WORKSHOP
There I was surrounded by terrific dietitians and clinicians in Chicago, listening to Marci Evans and Fiona Sutherland presenting a Body Image Workshop! Keep in mind that earlier that morning I had attended Fiona's yoga portion of the workshop. During that event Fiona covered mindfulness and important aspects of yoga, led our group through a series of restorative yoga postures, and explained how to put all of this together for body image healing work. It was fantastic!
But back to listening to this dynamic duo passionately talk about body image, its complexity, and how to effectively work with body image healing with clients. There was A LOT of information that Marci and Fiona discussed during this two-day workshop. But there were some points that particularly stood out to me. For example, even studying body image is more complex than one might think. One reason for this is because our body image is processed in nine different areas of the brain. Yep. Nine. One way to think of body image is - as Marci and Fiona pointed out - "our sense of being in the body." How do we feel living "in" this body? What thoughts or positives come to mind?
When we think about what affects our relationship with our body, there are a variety of things to take into account. Some of the many factors include weight stigma, disease, privilege, culture, biological factors, and trauma. In my previous blog post I explained how weight stigma can affect our health on so many levels. Internalized weight stigma can also contribute to developing a negative body image - or making it worse. We can all benefit ourselves and society by healing any weight bias that we may be holding onto.
It's also worth noting that the type of relationship that we have with our body can affect how we feel about ourselves and how we treat our body - which can have a big impact on the quality of our life. Needless to say, body image healing is REALLY important!
By working towards healing one's body image, a person who is feeling an immense amount of pain may lessen it. Working towards having a positive body image may also help people become more resilient as they navigate their way through life while their bodies and circumstances change. Particularly if they're practicing mindfulness, which leads to experiencing more self-compassion and being kinder to the body.
There is so much more that I could write today about this incredible workshop. But for now, I will just say that if you're a dietitian or a clinician, I highly recommend taking this workshop! Plus you'll receive this terrific book and a pack of Body Healing Cards that Marci and Fiona specifically made for incorporating body image healing into your practice!
The day after the Body Image Workshop ended, Colin and I needed to head back to Indiana by 1pm. So we decided to just take a stroll while sipping our morning coffee. Since we were craving something sweet, and part of Intuitive Eating entails leaving room for "play foods," we stopped at Dylan's Candy Bar. This fun candy store is located off of North Michigan Avenue along the Magnificent Mile in the Tribute Tower. It was a blast exploring the large variety of sweets that were displayed on both floors - and trying the fudge samples!
We also made time to enjoy a stroll by the Chicago River.
During our walk, Colin surprised me by leading us to Millennium Park. It was so peaceful.
It's pretty much impossible to visit Millennium Park without taking a picture in front of the Cloud Gate - which is also known as "The Bean!"
As if the trip could not have ended more perfectly, we came across a terrific Indian buffet at the restaurant, India House, which is located off of West Grand Avenue! We really enjoyed the chicken tikka masala - along with the many curries that were offered!
This vegetable cutlet was full of veggie deliciousness!
The tandoori chicken below was so satisfying!
This creamy mango ice cream was so delicious that I forget to take a picture prior to eating part of it! But hey, I'm including this picture anyway! It's a must-try for mango ice cream lovers!
After savoring every bite of this scrumptious Indian feast, Colin and I began our drive back to Indiana. A good part of the trip was spent with Colin kindly listening as I raved about what an incredible workshop I had attended, the fabulous health practitioners that I had just become friends with, and the wonderful food and sightseeing that we had enjoyed together.
I am so excited to incorporate all that I learned at the Body Image Workshop in my private practice! If you would like to work with me on developing a healthier relationship with food and your body, in addition to empowering your overall wellness, click here to learn more about my private one-on-one sessions! Happy eating!