MECL :: Mindful Eating, Conscious Living
Early-Bird Registration Fee: $795 + Room & Board
Two $250 scholarships available for those with demonstrated financial need
The intersection of mindfulness, eating and our relationship to food is the focus of this professional training. Inherent within that juncture are the thoughts, emotions and physical sensations that impact how we relate to food and our body in skillful and unskillful ways. The training emphasizes experiential engagement in mindfulness meditation practices and mindful eating awareness exercises, so that the participant will be able to pass the benefit of these exercises on to clients and patients in a variety of settings. These practices and exercises are integral components of the nine-session Mindful Eating Program Curriculum and Leader's Guide, designed by Bays and Wilkins, which provides the organizing structure from this training. Every participant will receive a copy of the Leader's Guide.
The Mindful Eating Program Curriculum and Leader's Guide program, which is a skill-building curriculum for use with individuals or groups, provides a platform from which participants will explore and teach core aspects of mindful eating. Mindfulness can deepen through the exploration of our relationship to eating and food and provide an opportunity to see more clearly the connection of body, mind and heart. By bringing awareness to and through the senses we can become more mindful of how, when, where, what and why we eat. Participants will explore the joys and sorrows held in eating and food, the disconnects and communions, and the aversions and desires- all of which can be opportunities that facilitate moving toward a healthier relationship with food, emotions and the physical body.
This training will support and enhance the participant’s personal meditation practice which is the essential foundation for teaching mindful eating. It will provide practical ways of integrating mindfulness and mindful eating in working with patients, individually or in groups. The program draws from Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), current research, and the instructors' combined 26 years of experience working in public and clinical settings with a wide range of people with distressed eating patterns.
The program will be led by experienced clinicians, mindfulness teachers and retreat leaders, Jan Chozen Bays, MD and Char Wilkins, LCSW. It offers participants an opportunity to explore the implications, personally and professionally, of assimilating mindfulness practices and mindful eating skills into their professional work. Since a personal practice is held to be the foundation from which to deliver mindfulness skills in the clinical setting, daily meditation practice, mindful movement and a half-day retreat are essential components of the program.
The MECL training includes didactic instruction, experiential meditation and eating exercises, group inquiry and dialogue, current research, and time for personal reflection. It offers a multi-faceted approach to mindful eating and is designed to encourage participants to use the nine-session Mindful Eating Program Curriculum and Leader's Guide to create an approach that is appropriate for the needs of their population. After completing the training attendees will be equipped to facilitate a mindful eating program in their setting. Attendees will receive a CD of mindful meditations directly related to the curriculum and relevant handouts, all to be used with the Leader's Guide.
Registration will be limited for this intensive program/retreat in order to cultivate an intimate, personal and highly interactive training environment.
At the completion of this activity, the participants should be able to:
This 5-day intensive, experiential program is intended for professionals wishing to incorporate mindful eating and supportive mindfulness-related practices in their one-on-one clinical practice and/or into group work in which eating, food and body are aspects or the central focus. The program was designed for clinicians in mental health or healthcare fields and clinicians-in-training in these fields. This program is also relevant for therapists and counselors who do not specialize in eating-related disorders as a way to understand, through the lens of mindfulness, the unique opportunity that eating and food provide as gateways to self-awareness and understanding for those who experience anxiety, depression, abuse, stress and/or illness.
It is our experience that successful delivery of mindfulness-based facilitation requires facilitators to have a commitment to an ongoing, daily mindfulness meditation practice. To this end we have created recommendations for acceptance to this training.
Mindfulness Practice: Based upon the foundational assumption that the only true teaching of mindfulness comes out of regular and systematic personal practice, this 5-day training is steeped in mindfulness practice. Early morning and evening practice sessions are a crucial component of the training itself and will include a variety of mindfulness practices including sitting meditation, mindful movement, and mindful walking and body meditations. Selected meals will be taken in silence, some being designated as mindful eating practice sessions. Several evenings will include silence from the conclusion of evening practice until breakfast the next morning, and a half-day guided retreat will be provided.
Group Size: In order to facilitate the individualized and intensive nature of both mindfulness and mindful eating, the training will be limited in size to 40 participants with a minimum of 2 experienced teachers to keep the student-to-teacher ratio low and the learning environment intimate and direct. Smaller breakout groups of 10-12 participants will be able to meet with one teacher.
Retreat Setting, Accommodations and Self-Care: The choice of a relatively isolated retreat setting is intentional to facilitate mindfulness practice, reduce outside distractions and create a safe and productive holding environment for the unfolding of the work and the group. The training is intended to be a protected forum for facilitating experiential learning, group cohesion and dynamics, and deep abiding attention to self-care and compassion. Single and double accommodations are clean and pleasant, and adequate but minimalistic, to encourage focused attention to the work itself. Meals are prepared and presented with deep intention to be healthful and nourishing by staff that is sensitive to the intention of the setting and the needs of the participants. Breaks will be provided to allow for participants to walk, hike, run or explore the surrounding environment as a means of supporting the sometimes challenging work itself and to facilitate self-care.
The utilization of mindful eating in a clinical context is a burgeoning area of study and practice in the mental health and healthcare fields. The number of research articles, books and popular press articles on the topic is growing exponentially and the demand for quality professional training in these practices and techniques is growing each year. To help meet that need, this and other mindfulness trainings are being offered through the UCSD Center for Mindfulness, as well as at other sites across the country and around the world.
UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness 5060 Shoreham Place, Suite 200 San Diego, CA 92122-0980
Content is subject to change without notice. Please refer to the activity website for the most current information.