Tips for eating at 40

Tips by Signe Darpinian:

  • Around the 40+ stage of life, know that there are physical and emotional shifts that often lead to unexpected weight gain.

  • Just having awareness of these changes alone will minimize the added anxiety of confusion, which could otherwise result in added plump.

  • Emotional pressures like rearing kids, divorce, parental loss, empty nest syndrome and now the 'no nest to empty' syndrome (for career women) will increase the 'stress hormone' cortisol and spike emotional eating.

  • Physical stressors include the decline of estrogen with the onset of perimenopause (the 3-10 year transitional period before menopause), causing decreased satiety and increased fat storage.

  • Despite the urge for a quick fix, don't fall for the next diet temptation because they have a 95-98% failure rate and simply DO NOT WORK!

  • Diets disconnect a person from their body's internal signals by attempting to externally control eating, while also messing with an already declining metabolic rate and intensifying desire for high sugar/high fat foods.

  • The real answer is to adopt a mindful and intuitive eating approach, which sharpens appetite listening skills and reconnects the individual with the body's wisdom.

  • Think more proactively about varying appetite levels and how they are affecting your eating behaviors

  • Using a continuum to understand appetite, where one side represents lower and higher degrees of hunger while the other side represents degrees of satisfaction.

  • Always begin intake with a genuine physiological hunger cue, aka the minor rumble which occurs early on, because that's directly related to the body also telling you when to stop at a comfy point (instead of when 'stuffed'/overfull).

  • Pay attention to the type of food fuel your body is desiring (sweet/salty, hot/cold, meat/veggie, etc.) and keep varied options available so you are well prepared to respond accordingly multiple times each day.

  • Watch out for the traps of 'satisfiction' where you keep eating because it's impossible to get enough of what you didn't actually need in the first place! Food is meant to physically energize, not soothe feelings. Find a friend when you need one, not the fridge. This way, food delivers the kind of true satisfaction it's capable of delivering and not misused.

  • This non-diet practice is like any other that takes time (draw on your patience) and repetition (draw on your stamina) in order to really fine-tune it, so trust with the body is strongly rebuilt over time.

  • Even on a busy day, it's entirely possible to address emotional stressors by quieting the mind.

    Try using some 'drive-thru spirituality' techniques:

    Informal meditation: Halt everything for a few moments to clear the head and keep perspective
    Peaceful meals: Take deep breaths between meal bites to create space and improve choices (like what to eat and when to stop)
    Yoga: Practice in or out of class once a week to release angst and stay more centered

  • Continually nourishing and grounding yourself from the inside out will better prep you for managing all the fluctuations and maintaining emotional balance, which in turn will allow the body's authentic appetite cues to run the show.

  • In time, the ultimate rewards arrive: finding and retaining your natural body shape.

  • Remember when you are more content, everyone around you wins!
For more information, visit

My Weigh Family Therapy
240 Third Street, Suite Two
Oakland, CA 94607
Phone: 510.251.8777

About Signe Darpinian, MA, MFT; Founder & Executive Director, My Weigh Family Therapy:

Signe Darpinian is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with a Certificate in Eating Disorders. She is the Founder & Executive Director of My Weigh Family Therapy, the San Francisco Bay Area's first-ever facility specialized in comprehensive mindful and intuitive eating programs.

The programs are geared toward women and teens who are looking to address subclinical body/weight issues. Since 2004, Signe has also owned and operated Meghan's Place, a center for the treatment of clinical eating disorders and the only one of its kind in California's Central Valley region.

Signe holds an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from San Francisco's John F. Kennedy University and a B.A. in Psychology from University of the Pacific. She has served in voluntary leadership roles as a board member of the Center for Human Services and the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County.

Signe continues to be recognized by various organizations for her work in women's health and as a business leader, while also serving as a speaker at renowned institutions such as Stanford University's School of Medicine.

Signe was recently featured in Psychology Today and as a guest on KGO-ABC7's popular TV talk show View from the Bay (hosted by Spencer Christian, formerly of Good Morning America).

With a never-ending dedication to making breakthrough progress in her field, Signe regularly attends national and global symposiums with the world's leading experts. Her greatest joy as a therapist is witnessing the natural unfolding process that clients experience as they disintegrate their judgmental stance around food symptoms and uncover deeper, actionable insights behind it all.

When not busy de-coding fat thoughts with clients, Signe craves her next clever greeting card discovery or riveting independent film viewing when not lining up overhead smashes on the tennis court.

About Karen Scheuner, Nutrition Therapist & Consultant:

Karen is a Registered Dietitian who brings over 18 years of experience in food and nutrition in a host of settings. After having been 'discouraged' from a certain well-known diet center early on for weighing too much, Karen decided there had to be a better way.

Her work since has spanned from UC-Berkeley's Center on Weight & Health to the Alta Bates Hospital adult eating disorder In-Patient program. Karen's avid interest in intuitive eating evolved from her graduate work where she studied the effectiveness of the non-diet approach in preventing and treating all forms of disordered eating.

She earned a Masters of Arts in Food Studies and Nutrition from New York University, after receiving a B.S. in Nutritional Science & Psychology from California Polytechnic State University. When not blissfully happy doing specialty talks and providing services at My Weigh, Karen enjoys painting, cooking, trolling the local farmers market and giving herself permission to do absolutely nothing.

Upcoming event:

Spring into your natural shape:
The 8 Guidelines To A Happy Diet-Free Body

April 16 & 17, 2010

This workshop is a thorough introduction to mindful and intuitive eating, which is the first key step on the path to redesigning one's relationship with food and finding the peace with body that so many people crave.

It's the perfect move for anyone who has been considering taking action but has yet to find the way. So come learn how to resume trust in your appetite and finally land your natural body shape.

The 2-day session will include various modules that will be led by My Weigh's experts in these essential areas:
    Licensed Pyschotherapist Signe Darpinian on how to redirect behavioral energy and regulate emotions in ways other than food

    Registered Dietician Karen Scheuner on how to recalibrate physiological hunger cues and reconnect with the body's innate wisdom

    Certified Personal Trainer Amanda Hill on how to reap the strong benefits of exercise through activity that really works for you

    The results are awesome: long-lasting body contentment and freedom from diets forever.
This weekend workshop takes place Friday 4 p.m.-7 p.m. & Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with food included on both days so that clients can apply the principles immediately for a full experience. Fee is $300.

A minimum 50 percent deposit reserves your spot, with the remaining balance due by workshop date. Payment can be made by check or with a credit card via PayPal (handling fee included) in the April Workshop section found on the homepage of our website.


For Every Kind of Eater

Currently, there are a variety of single-event and ongoing treatment program options for adults and adolescents:
  • Specialty Workshops (weekends)
  • Group Series (evenings)
  • Individual Therapy (weekly)
  • Premium Track (weekdays)
While the different programs vary in depth and length, all are set up to help clients uncover the truth behind their eating patterns and bring more guided energy around food so that each person is responding more to physiological cues rather than emotional ones. The outcome is an empowering internal locus of control that can stay with you forever.

For those interested in the most complete results, our comprehensive Premium Track is a multi-day/multi-week treatment plan that offers intensive coverage of each essential step to redesigning your relationship with food and discovering your natural body shape-while finally liberating you from the undesirable traps of dieting.

Also included are a series of in-session meals and a 'buffet' of exercise experiences that allow for practical application of the key principles learned. Leading the way is a topnotch staff of forward-thinking professionals who bring specialization in key areas such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Art Therapy, Diet & Nutrition, Life Enhancement Skills, Fitness Training and more…all uniquely combined in one facility.

Our inspired space is conveniently located in Northern California's East Bay Area, right near downtown Oakland in Jack London Square. Please contact us directly by email or phone with any questions regarding details on the different treatment programs, schedules, and fees--including a special introductory rate.

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