Mindful eating is deliberately paying attention while eating, being fully aware of what is happening both inside yourself - in your body, heart, and mind - and outside yourself, in your environment. Mindful eating involves awareness without criticism or judgment.
Mindful eating helps us rediscover the joy and delight inherent in the simple acts of eating and drinking. Mindful eating brings about change from the inside. Mindful eating replaces self-criticism with self-nurturing. Mindful eating helps us rediscover our body's wisdom and to reduce our dependence upon external rules such as charts, tables, or scales.
Jan Chozen Bays is a pediatrician and Zen teacher. She had practiced mindful eating as part of her own Zen training for decades, and taught it to her students. When it became apparent that the epidemic of eating out-of-balance was impacting children, and that the current generation of children might live shorter lives than their parents, Dr. Bays decided to bring the benefits of mindful eating out of the Zen setting and to make them available to a larger audience. She wrote a book called Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Joyful and Healthy Relationship with Food and began offering weekend retreats on Mindful Eating. The book has been translated into seven languages, and trainings for professionals are now offered in the US and Europe. There is a CD of mindful eating meditations in the back of the book.
The weekend retreats are open to anyone, and are held four times a year at Great Vow Zen Monastery in Clatskanie, Oregon. Five-day trainings for professionals in the field (dieticians, medical and mental health workers, etc.) are offered twice year in the US (through the UCSD Center for Mindfulness) and semi-annually in Europe.
Used and new copies of the book are available through Amazon. You can order a new autographed copy by contacting Great Vow Zen Monastery: 503-728-0654.
See the website of The Center for Mindful Eating at tcme.org.