MINDFUL EASTING INSTITUTE

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

HOW IS "MEI" DIFFERENT FROM COMMERCIAL WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAMS?

Commercial weight loss programs are based on behavior change and meal replacement only. At MEI we address emotional eating. Without this most critical component, weight loss will be temporary and the "weight gain/weight loss" cycle begins again.

Instead of following the false promise of a “quick fix”, clients join the program for a minimum of three to six months to ensure longterm success. The outcome is a life free of dieting and enjoying a peaceful, relaxed relationship with food. The weight starts to come off once a client starts practicing good emotional self-care and implementing new life-enhancing rituals. Once the need to self-regulate with food diminishes, weight loss seems to occur naturally as beneficial side effect of gentle emotional self-care and mindful self-compassion.

ARE EXERCISE AND JOURNALING PART OF THE PROGRAM?

Yes. Both gentle exercise and journaling are encouraged and highly recommended. It doesn't matter how you move your body as long as it's pleasurable. There is no prescription or tight framework. It's not just about burning calories but honoring your body, which is not designed to sit all day. "Blue Zones" research confirms that it is crucial to move about naturally all day as practiced by many centenarians around the world.

You will be encouraged to keep a food/mood journal for the first 30 days (and beyond if you choose to).  It will help identify your emotional eating patterns. The pay off is that you will gain a clear understanding of which moods/feelings cause you to reach for food when you are not physically  hungry.

WILL I LEARN HOW TO MEDITATE?

You will be introduced to mindfulness meditation and relaxation techniques throughout the duration of the program. An important component in breaking emotional eating patterns  is to create space, and to pause before reaching for food. What you will start witnessing is the underlying core need and labeling it appropriately. This will help end the familiar pattern of being "on autopilot" when it comes to food and self-soothing. The meditation and relaxation routines will help you develop a gentle curiosity about your "true" needs in a challenging or stressful situation. The recommended mediation Apps are: Headspace, Calm and UCLA Mindful.

WHAT IS MINDFUL SELF-COMPASSION?

It represents a form of self-empathy and self-love. It's like treating yourself the same way you would comfort a small child, a friend or a loved one who is suffering. A great definition of self-compassion comes from Chris Germer and Kristin Neff, founders of the Mindful Self-Compassion Center: “Self-compassion involves the capacity to comfort and soothe ourselves, and to motivate ourselves with encouragement, when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate." We are asked and encouraged to become the "person we needed the most", to send loving and healing thoughts and energy towards ourselves when we feel lonely, anxious, stressed, unappreciated etc. In the past food may have played the role of comforter or soother. Now you will learn new ways of  being good to yourself and honoring your true needs.

WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE "MEI" OVER WEIGHT WATCHERS OR JENNY CRAIG?

Petra Beumer, founder of the Mindful Eating Institute, developed a non-dieting approach to emotional overeating and weight regulation. The program offers a comprehensive approach and is tailored to the individual needs and circumstances of each client. After a thorough intake session, the client receives weekly "homework" assignments. These practices are designed to enhance a client's overall wellbeing, reduce stress levels and foster a greater sense of equanimity. The food & mood journal serves as a daily companion for gathering valuable insights into the emotional triggers, which lead to "eating instead of feeling."

Petra's belief is that we don't need more discipline, but more nurturing, therefore, the damaging effects of restrictive dieting, calorie counting or continually stepping on the scale are not part of the program. Many clients report feeling a great sense of relief and freedom because of this.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM A GOOD CANDIDATE?

If you have been struggling with weight and food your whole adult life and are tired of yo-yo dieting,  you are an excellent candidate for the program. You are ready to explore other ways of self-nurturing and self-soothing, and want to have a healthy, relaxed relationship with food and your body - forever! Typically clients share during their initial phone interview: "I don't have another diet in me!" Let me be your guide - Allow me to help you embark on a different kind of journey: towards a lighter way of living and being, both physically, emotionally and spiritually. Welcome to my program!