ME-CL1: Mindful Eating-Conscious Living:

A Foundational Professional Training

(September 24th- 29th 2017)

I am excited to announce that the MECL-1 training programme is coming to the UK for the first time!

Background to ME-CL1

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 eight-session Mindful Eating Program Manual- Teacher’s Guide, designed by Bays and Wilkins, which provides the organizing structure from this training. Every participant will receive a copy of the Teacher’s Guide.

ME-CL1 provides professionals with a curriculum 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 attendee’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 35 years of experience working in public and clinical settings with a wide range of people with distressed eating patterns.


The Training

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 ME-CL1 training includes didactic instruction, experiential meditation and eating exercises, group inquiry and dialogue, current research, and time for personal reflection. This training offer 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.


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 behaviours

Target Audience:

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.


Participant Guidelines: 

Acceptance on this training is through an application essay via the "Register Now" button below. It is our experience that successful delivery of mindfulness-based facilitation requires facilitators to have a commitment to an ongoing, daily mindfulness meditation practice. The recommendations for acceptance to this training include the following:

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


Program Format:

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 up 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 participants will be able to meet with one teacher.

Retreat Setting, Accommodation and


The choice of a quiet 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 will be held in Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre which is based in Selly Oak, around five miles south of Birmingham city centre. (See below for full address and website) The retreat centre is situated in 10 acres of organically managed gardens offering opportunities for reflection and learning in a friendly welcoming environment. It is an ideal place to integrate the ME-CL1 training and to promote connectedness among the participants. 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. 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.

Woodbrooke address and website details: 

Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, 1046 Bristol Road, Birmingham, B29 6LJ, United Kingdom.

T +44 (0)121 472 5171
F +44 (0)121 472 5173

Additional information, including details about how to get to the Centre can be found at:

Financial Arrangement and

Terms & Conditions

Early Bird: £1100 (for payments received on/before 15th July 2017) 

General Registration: £1200 (for payments received from 16th July 2017)  

This includes the following:

  • Trainers fees

  • 5 days of full board (including 3 meals per day, plus snacks and tea and coffee at mid- morning and afternoon breaks)

  • The pleasure of staying in this beautiful tranquil setting.

You may withdraw your application up until 30th June 2017 at which point you will be offered a refund, minus a 20% admin fee. If you cancel your place after this date no refund will be offered.

Please note, that in the unlikely event that the course is cancelled, a full refund of the registration fee will be reimbursed. Transportation costs, hotel accommodations and any other miscellaneous expenses will not be covered.

Dr Jan Chozen Bays has recorded a short video to tell you more about the course in person. Check out this link

Register now.

contact information

07941 570 266