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Eating with Wisdom: Cultivating Mindful Eating. Jean L. Kristeller, Ph.D. Center for the Study of Health, Religion, and Spirituality The Center for Mindful Eating Dept. Of Psychology, Indiana State University Acknowledgments.

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eating with wisdom cultivating mindful eating

Eating with Wisdom:Cultivating Mindful Eating

Jean L. Kristeller, Ph.D.

Center for the Study of Health, Religion, and Spirituality

The Center for Mindful Eating

Dept. Of Psychology, Indiana State University



Indiana State UniversityBrendan Hallett, Psy.D. and Virgil Sheets, Ph.D.Juli Buchanan, M.A., Brandy Dean, M.A., and Janis Leigh, B.A.

Duke UniversityRuth Quillian-Wolever, Ph.D. Sasha Loring, M.S.W., Jennifer Davis, M.S., and Jennifer Best, Ph.D.

Richard Surwit, Ph.D. and Richard Liebowitz, M.D.


MINDFULNESS: a cognitive state, marked by attentional stability, that disengages habitual reactions and allows for inner wisdom to emerge.

meditation mechanisms and misunderstandings
Meditation:Mechanisms and Misunderstandings
  • Meditation is NOT primarily a trance state.
  • Meditation is NOT primarily a relaxation tool.
  • Meditation is FUNDAMENTALLY a cognitive-attentional process that promotes self-regulation.
  • It has potential effects across MULTIPLE DOMAINS of psychological functioning: cognitive, physiological, emotional, behavioral, relation to self/others, and spiritual.
usual processing conditioning model eating problems
Usual Processing: Conditioning Model & Eating Problems

Usual Thoughts and Experiences

Conditioning ~~ Survival ~~ Attachment/Avoidance








the six domain model eating mindlessly
The Six Domain Model: Eating Mindlessly
  • Cognitive: Preoccupation with food/eating; black and white thinking.
  • Physiological: 1) hyper-reactivity around food. 2) Disconnect from normal hunger and satiation cues.
  • Emotional: Depression; craving; anxiety.
  • Behavioral: Binge eating; highly conditioned responses to food; general overeating.
  • Relationship to Self/Others: Poor self-acceptance; self-hatred; anger at others; over-valuing thinness.
  • Spiritual: No wise eating; spirituality does not engage honoring body; value and meaning attached to food abundance.
psychiatric criteria for binge eating disorder dsm iv
Psychiatric Criteria for Binge Eating Disorder (DSM-IV)
  • Recurrent binges, characterized by:
    • Eating, in a discrete period of time, much more than most people would eat.
    • A sense of lack of control during the episode.
  • At least two episodes of binge eating per week for six months.
  • Associated with eating more rapidly, eating until uncomfortably full, eating without being physically hungry &/or feeling very guilty or depressed afterwards.
  • Marked distress regarding binge eating.
3500 kcalories overeating vs bingeing
Overeating Pattern

Time KCal

7 am 2 eggs, bacon

2 slices toast

OJ 450

10 am Doughnut 150

Noon Whopper

Medium Fries 1130

6 pm 6 oz. Steak

Baked potato

2 vegies, roll

Apple pie 1320

10 pm 2 oz. Doritos

1 beer 450

TOTAL 3500

Bingeing Pattern



OJ 260

Salad/diet dressing


Diet Coke 300

3 oz steak

Baked potato

2 vegies 500

2 pieces Apple pie

7 oz. Doritos

1 pint ice cream 2440

TOTAL 3500

3500 KCalories: Overeating vs. Bingeing
mb eat mindfulness based eating awareness training
MB-EAT:Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Eating experience meditations:
    • Awareness of binge triggers
    • Awareness of hunger
    • Awareness of satiety (taste-specific, fullness)
  • Food-related meditations: raisin, chocolate, cheese/crackers, pot luck meal/buffet.
  • Mini-meditations with daily meals and snacks.
  • Forgiveness and wisdom meditations
  • Homework: meditation practice, mindful eating.
mb eat outline of sessions
MB-EAT: Outline of Sessions
  • Introduction to mindfulness meditation. Mindfully eating a raisin.
  • Introduction to “mini-meditation”. Mindfully eating cheese and crackers.
  • Binge trigger meditation. Mindfully eating sweet, high fat food.
  • Hunger Signals meditation (physical vs. emotional hunger).
  • Taste-Specific Satiation Signals meditation. Chips and cookies.
  • Stomach Fullness Satiety meditation. Pot luck meal.
  • Forgiveness meditation.
  • Wisdom meditation.
  • Have others noticed?; where do you go from here?
nih trial
NIH Trial
  • NCCAM-funded randomized clinical trial with 3 groups: Meditation-based; Psycho-educational; Waiting List.
  • Two-site design (ISU and Duke).
  • 9 week manualized intervention
  • 1 and 4 month followups
  • More extensive measures including process measures and change in biological markers of self-regulation (lipid and metabolic profiles)
  • Sample size: N = 150 evaluated on all baseline measures; 14% men.
  • Approximately 14% African-American recruitment
  • Average age = 47.5; Avg. Wt. = 240 lbs.; Avg. BMI = 39.
treatment effects on the three factor questionnaire disinhibition
Treatment Effects on the Three Factor Questionnaire: Disinhibition


MM vs. PE: p <.01

(N =85)

results in relation to the multi domain model
Results in Relation to the Multi-Domain Model
  • Cognitive: Disengagement from food preoccupation.
  • Physiological: Normalization of hunger and satiation cues; improvement in physiological/metabolic regulation.
  • Emotional: Decreased depression.
  • Behavioral: Decreased binging, interruption of highly conditioned responses.
  • Relationship to Self/Others: Improved self-acceptance; anecdotally, forgiveness of others.
  • Spiritual: Anecdotally, sense of connecting with the higher, wiser self; using meditation as prayer time.
Current NIH Study: MB-EAT IIMindfulness Meditation: Regulating Eating and ObesityPI: Jean L. Kristeller, Ph.D., ISU
  • NCCAM-funded randomized clinical trial with 2 groups: MB-EAT vs. Wait List Control.
  • Focus on obesity - moderately to morbidly obese (BMI>34).
  • 12 week manualized intervention with increased focus on weight loss, plus 3 month support followup.
  • 6 month total followup.