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MINDFUL EATING–CONCIOUS LIVING, ME-CL1 : A Foundational Professional Training



The Mindful Eating – Concious Living (ME-CL1) program is based on MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy), current research and the two trainers' 41 years of combined experience in public and clinical settings.

This professional training focuses on the intersection of mindfulness, eating and our relationship to food. 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 eight-session Mindful Eating Program Manual- Teacher’s Guide, designed by Bays and Wilkins, which provides the organizing structure of this training. Every participant will receive a copy of the Teacher’s Guide, both in English and in German.

ME-CL1 training provides professionals with a curriculum that enables them to explore and teach the fundamentals of mindful eating. It will provide practical ways to integrate mindfulness and mindful eating into working with patients, individually or in groups. It is also an opportunity to support and strengthen the practice of meditation, which is the essential foundation for teaching mindful eating.


Mindful eating involves paying full attention to the experience of eating and drinking, both inside and outside the body. We pay attention to the colors, smells, textures, flavors, temperatures, and even the sounds (crunch!) of our food. We pay attention to the experience of the body. Where in the body do we feel hunger? Where do we feel satisfaction? What does half-full feel like, or three quarters full?

We also pay attention to the mind. While avoiding judgment or criticism, we watch when the mind gets distracted, pulling away from full attention to what we are eating or drinking. We watch the impulses that arise after we’ve taken a few sips or bites: to grab a book, to turn on the TV, to call someone on our cell phone, or to do web search on some interesting subject. We notice the impulse and return to just eating.

We notice how eating affects our mood and how our emotions like anxiety influence our eating. Gradually we regain the sense of ease and freedom with eating that we had in childhood. It is our natural birthright.

The old habits of eating and not paying attention are not easy to change. Don’t try to make drastic changes. Lasting change takes time, and is built on many small changes. We start simply.


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 ME-CL1 training includes didactic instruction, experiential meditation and eating exercises, group inquiry and dialogue, current research, and time for personal reflection. This training offers a multi-faceted approach to mindful eating and is designed to encourage participants to use the eight-session Mindful Eating framework to create an approach that is appropriate to the needs of their population.

After completing the training attendees will be equipped to facilitate the mindful eating program in their setting. Attendees will receive a link and password to all mindful meditations directly related to the curriculum and relevant handouts, all to be used with the Teacher’s Guide.

Registration will be limited for this intensive program/retreat in order to cultivate an intimate, personal and highly interactive training environment.


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.


At the completion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  • demonstrate delivery of a range of eating awareness practices

  • facilitate the eight-session Mindful Eating program in their setting, adapting it to their clientele.

  • articulate the pivotal importance of mindful inquiry and investigation in teaching mindful eating practices

  • appreciate and understand their own unique qualifications, strengths and weaknesses in regards to facilitating mindfulness and mindful eating in their work

  • develop or deepen their own mindfulness meditation and mindful eating practices and understand the impact and importance of these personal practices in the successful delivery of the curriculum

  • articulate habituated patterns of mind, emotions and body sensations related to eating behaviors


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. Eating and food are unique 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.

  • Advanced degree in mental health-related field (e.g., psychology, social work or counseling) or currently enrolled in graduate training toward licensure.  It is not expected or necessary to be an eating disorders specialist.

  • Or advanced degree in health care field (e.g. dietician, RN, APRN, PA, physician, psychiatrist) or currently enrolled in graduate training toward licensure. Appropriate for those working with, but not limited to, bariatric surgeries, weight management, diabetes, eating disorders.

  • Or a professional degree in ecology, biology or food technology science

  • Attendance at an Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive (MBCT) or Mindful Eating-Conscious Living (ME-CL) program as a participant

  • A personal commitment to an ongoing daily meditation practice

  • A mindful movement practice such as Yoga, Taijiquan or Qigong

  • Added value: Attendance at formal meditation retreats or formal meditation trainings


Dates from 28 April at 16:00 till 3 May 2020 after lunch
Location: Landguet Ried, Center for mindful living, Hilfligweg 10 – 3172 Niederwangen b. Bern, Switzerland
Translation: training will be taught in English with translation into German.
Training materials will be made available both in German and in English.

Normal rate: CHF 1390.–
Early bird (till 31 January 2020): CHF 1190.–

Excluding accommodation and food
Additional costs are to be taken into account for accommodation and catering in full board.
Please check this link to find out accommodation prices.

REGISTRATION & Application process

To apply, please download the form and send it back with your CV to training[at] Please make sure to add in the subject: “ME-CL1 training April 2020”.

Applications can be received till 1st April 2020

You can benefit from the early bird rate if applying before 31st January 2020 !

Once your application has been reviewed, you will receive notification of your application status; if your application has been accepted, you will receive the registration link and will be able to complete registration for the course, accommodation and food.

IMPORTANT * * : Please note that the reviewers of your application do not speak German. Therefore your application form must be written in English.

Jan Chozen Bays, MD describes the Mindful Eating – Conscious Living training for professionals.

 Recommended Reading

  • Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (revised edition 2018) by Jan Chozen Bays

  • Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink

  • The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life by Parker Palmer

  • Mindfulness and the Therapeutic Relationship Edited by Steven Hick & Thomas Bien

  • Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach

  • The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being by Daniel Siegel

 Suggested Reading

  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn

  • The Zen of Eating by Ronna Kabatznick

  • Art of the Inner Meal by Donald Altman

  • Mindfulness in Plain English by Henepola Gunaratana

  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan.

  • Eating the Moment  by Pavel Somov

  • Eating Mindfully: How to End Mindless Eating & Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food by Susan Albers

  • Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine by Saki Santorelli


The program will be led by experienced clinicians, mindfulness teachers and retreat leaders, Jan Chozen Bays, MD and Char Wilkins, LCSW.

Jan Chozen Bays _1118-002_Small.jpg

JAN CHOZEN BAYS, MD, is a pediatrician and Zen teacher. She did her medical studies at UC San Diego, trained in Zen under two masters in the US and Japan, and since 2001 has served a co-abbot of the Great Vow Zen Monastery in Oregon.
She shared her experiences over three decades of practicing and teaching mindful eating, in the book, Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (Shambhala Publishing, 2008, revised 2017), which has been translated into ten languages. She also compiled 53 favorite mindfulness exercises in the book How to Train a Wild Elephant and Other Adventures in Mindfulness(Shambhala Publishing, 2011). With co-teacher Char Wilkins, Jan offers Mindful Eating-Conscious Living trainings for professionals in the US and Europe.

CHAR WILKINS, MSW, LCSW , is a mindfulness-based psychotherapist specializing in working with women with childhood abuse, depression, anxiety and disordered eating.  She is a certified MBSR teacher  by the Center for Mindfulness, UMass Medical School, Worcester, MA. and is also trained to teach MBCT.
She provides mentorship for ME-CL and MBSR teachers-in-training. Char served on the Board of Directors for The Center for Mindful Eating (TCME)  for 7 years and currently serves on their Advisory Council.  She is a published author of several articles exploring the intersection of abuse and eating disorders and the application of mindfulness. She lives and gardens in Connecticut.