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Using Mindfulness, Meditation, and Journaling in Binge Eating Disorder Treatment

When engaged in binge eating disorder treatment in Boston, most clients benefit from learning about key coping skills to use in daily life. Many skills are introduced, though three are returned to time and time again in helping people become and remain recovered: mindfulness, meditation, and journaling. With these skills, it is easier to manage stress and remain recovered through all the challenges that life presents.

Before people can use these coping skills effectively, however, they must fully understand their purpose and best practices. Luckily, they can get started here by taking an in-depth look at the role of mindfulness, meditation, and journaling in binge eating disorder treatment at Monte Nido programs in Boston and other locations.


People with binge eating disorder symptoms can benefit from learning how to pay attention to their thoughts, feelings, and actions without judgment. They can accomplish that goal through mindfulness exercises at the treatment center.

What Is Mindfulness?

Many people put up a mental block that offers protection from difficult thoughts and emotions. This wall can also help them avoid thinking about the risks and repercussions of their disordered behaviors, allowing their disordered eating behavior to continue. Mindfulness aims to remove that wall and help people view their true emotions, thoughts, and other aspects of their selves without judgment. With that, they can see their disordered thoughts and behaviors — and discover the path to recovery.

Mindfulness is a state of awareness that allows people to truly gauge how they are feeling and what they are thinking. This allows them to see how their inner thoughts and emotions lead to disordered behaviors. Mindfulness also reveals how these elements reinforce each other and act as a barrier to becoming recovered. It allows people to live in the present moment as well, rather than getting stuck on past events.

Although important, mindfulness rarely comes naturally. Many people have to work at it to get to a healthy place and honestly view themselves without judgment. Treatment centers give people that chance, offering them guidance and support as they learn to become mindful. Individuals can complete the exercises as they feel comfortable in facing their truths and dismantling the façade they have constructed over the years.

Benefits of Mindfulness in Binge Eating Disorder Treatment

By viewing themselves objectively and remaining in the present moment, people with binge eating disorder can start to dismantle the protective barriers they have set up. With the removal of those barriers, they can start to see their path to recovery and the obstacles standing in their way.
As their mindfulness improves, they will become much more self-aware and gain valuable insights about their minds and bodies. They can share that knowledge with their binge eating disorder therapists to create an even more effective treatment plan and receive the support they need.

In addition to boosting self-awareness, mindfulness can also help:

  • Reduce negative thought patterns
  • Restore feelings of control
  • Improve self-esteem and confidence
  • Decrease reactivity and overwhelming feelings
  • Identify binge eating episode triggers

This skill teaches people with binge eating disorder that they are more than the sum of their thoughts. It reveals that they can control those thoughts and redirect their energy away from disordered behaviors. With that understanding, they can get on the path to becoming recovered from binge eating disorder.

How Binge Eating Disorder Treatment Centers Teach Mindfulness

Many binge eating treatment centers teach mindfulness as a matter of course, as it helps support progress in so many other therapies. Both cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, for example, use mindfulness as an integral part of the healing process.

Unless they already have a good grasp of this technique, clients will likely learn to become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and actions in therapy. The therapy sessions may be held individually or in a group setting, depending on the needs of the patient.

To practice this skill, therapists may have their patients:

  • Pay close attention to their thoughts and feelings throughout the day
  • Jot down notes about their thoughts, emotions, and any actions that result
  • Avoid passing judgment about themselves as they take an honest look inside
  • Report back with their findings to receive guidance and support

Mindfulness requires a lot of practice, but it is a skill that can be built anywhere. People must start with neutral or happy situations to start to build the skill gradually. Trying to begin with stressful situations can backfire, leading to more problems down the road.

Therapists will guide the client when and where to practice mindfulness throughout the process. Their guidance helps to improve resilience in the face of difficult challenges that could otherwise act as barriers to recovery.

While learning this skill, people may be instructed to practice at various times of the day, including:

  • Upon waking up in the morning
  • While riding as a passenger in a vehicle
  • During rest periods throughout the day

Before suggesting any time to practice mindfulness, therapists will consider all the potential triggers and create a plan that avoids them at first. As people get better at this skill, however, they can start to practice during tough situations, like eating meals, to face their fears and start healing.


Once people have begun their journey toward mastering mindfulness, they can start using meditation as part of their daily routine. Through this process, they can learn to accept and let go of potentially-distressing thoughts, helping them become recovered from binge eating disorder.

How Meditation Supports Healing

To get a grasp on the negative feelings that influence eating disorders, and better gauge their thoughts, they may learn how to practice meditation. This practice helps facilitate mindfulness as it gives people a chance to acknowledge and process their thoughts and emotions.

Meditation goes beyond mindfulness, however, by clearing the mind and creating a peaceful mental space. Through that process, it is possible to create a safe space mentally no matter where they go and what is going on around them. This gives them the ability to withstand greater stressors than ever before, helping them become and remain recovered in the face of adversity.

While meditating, people can feel at peace as they tune out the things causing them to feel upset. People with binge eating disorder can also meditate upon encountering triggers that would otherwise cause disordered thoughts and behaviors to arise. By taking a step back in this manner, it is easier to gain perspective about the situation and use their other coping skills to get through the stress.

Ways to Meditate in Binge Eating Treatment

At its core, meditation is about sitting still and observing the present moment. Thoughts, feelings, and other sensations should be able to easily pass through the mind. Mastering this technique takes a lot of practice, but thankfully, there are many ways to build this skill. Therapists may introduce one, or all, of the following methods to people in binge eating treatment in Boston.

Guided Meditation

Since it can be difficult to sit quietly and clear the mind, guided meditation is often the first step in learning how to meditate. This technique revolves around listening to someone describe a peaceful scene and visualizing it with as much detail as possible. Eating disorder therapists can walk people through the meditation themselves or provide information on where to find suitable recordings.

At first, it is normal to find it difficult to stay engaged and follow along. As people strengthen their minds and develop more control, they often find it much easier to switch into a meditative state. Once they are able to stay engaged from beginning to end, they can often switch to the next phase of meditation with ease.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation can be a key part of binge eating treatment, as it allows people to find their center and calm their minds during stressful times. This technique requires a quiet space, at least at first, where people can sit still and allow their minds to wander.

As thoughts arise, whether negative or positive, they are to simply acknowledge them and let them go without reacting. All the while, they should try to keep their emotions neutral and even, casting away fear and self-judgment.

Through this process, they can see how their mind works and assess the thoughts that arise objectively. They can stop using avoidance as a crutch and face the problem head-on, which goes a long way in helping promote their recovery from binge eating disorder.

Depending on the patient’s exact needs and progress in treatment, therapists may offer other meditation techniques to try. They will also show them how to pair mindfulness and meditation with journaling as they become and remain recovered.


Therapists cannot always be on hand to help with processing as people use mindfulness and meditation to address their thoughts and feelings. For this reason, journaling is a vital part of the process of healing and becoming recovered.

Why Is Journaling Effective for Binge Eating Treatment?

Journaling goes hand in hand with mindfulness, as it provides a place for people to write down what comes across their minds. Identifying troublesome thoughts and feelings is usually the first step in treatment since it provides valuable insights. With those insights, people can find their triggers, pinpoint avoidance behaviors, and start to unravel difficult thoughts and feelings.

With a journal in hand, people can quickly jot down difficult thoughts, emotions, and other notes rather than keep them deep down inside. This helps release stress and provides much-needed data about the inner workings of their minds. They can then work with their therapist to find patterns and discover areas to work on as they become recovered from binge eating disorder.

Best Practices in Journaling at a Monte Nido Binge Eating Disorder Treatment Center

Early on during a stay binge eating treatment center, people are encouraged to journal anything and everything that comes to their mind. As they find problem areas and start to work on the bigger issues, they may use journaling to get around specific problems.

To help everyone through this process, eating disorder therapists may provide journaling tools to use, like a bullet journal for elucidating binge eating patterns. They may also offer journaling exercises that help in pushing past barriers to recovery and resolving underlying issues.

Journaling exercises used in binge eating treatment include:

  • Writing fictional narratives that help them find insights and solutions
  • Using a bullet journal to reveal stressors and challenges ahead
  • Reflective writing in response to a given prompt
  • Answering questions about their key motivations and concerns

Through all the provided exercises and free-writing activities, people in binge eating treatment can purposefully work toward becoming recovered and living the life they want to enjoy.

Using Mindfulness, Meditation, and Journaling Together for Recovery

Binge eating treatment uses mindfulness, meditation, and journaling together to help everyone become and remain recovered. These skills are learned in treatment, and then become a key part of coping after returning to daily life. They are well worth the time to learn as they can help keep everyone on course through both happy and difficult times.

To receive help in recovering from binge eating disorder, all it takes is a call to 888-228-1253. Admissions specialists are standing by to help people connect with a treatment team ready to provide exceptional care. Call today to find out more about our unique approach to helping people become recovered from eating disorders.

Melissa Orshan Spann, PhD, LMHC, RTY 200, is Chief Clinical Officer at Monte Nido, overseeing the clinical operations and programming for over 50 programs across the U.S. Dr. Spann is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and clinical supervisor as well as an accomplished presenter and passionate clinician who has spent her career working in the eating disorder field in higher levels of care. She is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders and the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals where she serves on the national certification committee, supervision faculty, and is on the board of her local chapter. She received her doctoral degree from Drexel University, master’s degree from the University of Miami, and bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida.