What I Do

Hi! My name is Jared.

I'm the guy behind the scenes here and I help people who are willing to embrace a simple approach based on CBT Journaling to stop binge eating.

This is unlike any calorie log you've ever tried before.

I believe teaching CBT Journaling is the best method for beginners who struggle with binges, cravings, or urges because it's easy enough for anyone to use while still being effective in helping them reach their goals of ending these unhealthy habits once and for all.

Why I Do It

My journey began in the sophomore year when I became a wrestler athlete and began the dieting and bingeing cycle. I didn’t know this at the time, but I was dieting. I would constantly think about my precise caloric measurements so that I could make cut weight in a scientific manner for the wrestling tournaments. Of course I would eat large amounts of food after the tournament ended because I had been starving myself. This cycle just kept getting worse. 

jared levenson binge eating wrestler picture from high school
jared levenson with eye brows shaved off living as zen monk

In college, I developed anemia, a blood condition because of my poor diet and binge eating. At this point in my life I was also becoming acutely and painfully aware of my humiliating social awkwardness and anxiety. I didn’t have any friends, and binge eating became for me a sort of friend. Marijuana also became a close companion, and to be honest, I still have a respectful, creative relationship with Marijuana. However, I now am 100% free of binge eating and have been for years.

Eventually, feeling that my life was falling apart, I had a sudden idea to become a Zen Monk. I’d always been an introspective guy and since my life was falling apart, I felt like this was the only solution. I decided to literally pursue Enlightenment. 

me monk jared tassajara

My heart was settled. I decided to forgo college graduation and became a lay-ordained Zen Monk in the Soto Zen Tradition. I spent 13 months up in the mountain monastery of Tassajara, located in the Big Sur mountain range of California. During my time in the monastery, I was accidentally introduced to the principles I would later need to stop binge eating 100%. But at the time I didn’t know exactly what I was learning. 

For example, I was eating 3 meals a day and a couple of snacks. I was eating mindfully. I was getting plenty of sleep. And most importantly, I was becoming much more mindful about my thoughts, moods, and emotions. Miraculously, I stopped binge eating up in the monastery (although this wasn’t the end of my bingeing). 

jared meditate enlightenment
jared levenson standing up teaching yoga in front of a class asking class how can a person maintain a healthy body image

Having quit bingeing for a few months, I felt like I no longer needed the support of the monastery. After I had left the monastery after 13 months, I became a Personal Trainer as I waited for graduate school to start. Being in the gym working with other Personal Trainers quickly triggered my binge eating habits once again! 

Even though I’d learned a lot of mindfulness training, I still felt lost. 

Fortunately, graduate school started and I started seeing a therapist. As I started working with a therapist in the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach and kept a Food Awareness Journal. Through this simple, but strangely difficult process, I quickly discovered my shameful ‘orphan’ beliefs which were at the heart of my embarrassing social awkwardness and loneliness. Deep down, I could see that I believed I was worthless. Deep down I hated myself. And even though it was painful to see these beliefs written on paper, upon seeing these false, but subconscious beliefs, I began to work on these subconscious beliefs and began connecting better to people and myself.

Later on in graduate school, I discovered Intuitive Eating and was able to piece together the restrict / binge cycle that I’d been stuck in for years. This was the turning point for me. Along with my work on my subconscious beliefs, my binge eating practically evaporated in a few weeks. 

Since then I’ve been fortunate to get experience working at Cielo House for Eating Disorders as a Recovery Counselor. I found my passion for writing the Eating Enlightenment blog. It seemed like my passion for blogging mirrored my experience working through the Food Awareness Journal I had used back in therapy. 

Various certifications followed, the podcast began, people began asking if they could work with hundreds and me of blog posts years later… here I am today. 

As for the science which inspires Eating Enlightenment, behind Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, check this meta-analysis on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30584663/ “Meta-analysis of the effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy for binge-eating-type disorders” Over 27 studies found that: “The percentage of treatment completers who achieved abstinence at post-treatment was 42.1%.” That is, 42% of people who completed treatment achieved abstinence. That’s 42% of people becoming abstinent from binge eating after 20 sessions. 27 studies!
You have an eating problem that is interfering with your life and it has been going on for some time now. You know this. If you’re reading these words right now then eating is such a topic on your mind that you have a problem with your food thoughts. You know this. If you have seen a doctor who has seen many other people with eating disorders and this doctor thinks that you would benefit from treatment, then yes. You have a problem that needs treatment. If you have family members and / or friends who have been telling you that you need treatment, then you need treatment. Just being honest here. Denial is worse. Don’t let this problem go on for years when there proven, simple measures that are risk free.
If you worry too much about when you’ll stop bingeing, you’ll just be getting in the way of treatment itself. What’s best is just focusing on what needs to be done to overcome the problem itself!
Eating Enlightenment prides itself on objective success, primarily measurable reductions in binge eating frequency. This one measure is sufficient in and of itself in assessing the effectiveness of Eating Enlightenment. But then think about all the wonderful consequences! Let’s remember the proven scientific benefits listed above: Improved cholesterol levels Lower rates of emotional and disordered Better body image Higher self-esteem Reduced stress Improved metabolism Higher levels of contentment and satisfaction In addition to less binges and these proven benefits, there are so many harder to measure benefits: What would your life look like if you no longer binged? What would your life look like if all the mental energy you spend thinking about food was redirected towards creative projects? How would you live if you felt confident in social situations around food? Eating Enlightenment clients report many other benefits, in addition to the concrete measurable reductions in binge eating, such as: Becoming better parents Better co-workers Saving money to pay off debt because they no longer go on crazy binges Not being shackled by obsessive thoughts Simply enjoying food with family and friends Developing a compassionate voice instead of inner criticism Finding a greater sense of spirituality Much less depression Much greater self-esteem and appreciation for life Overall, the benefit I think that’s most heart warming to me is getting to know someone and see their true personality emerge over time. Usually when someone is trapped by bingeing, they are a shell of their true selves.
Here’s my educational qualifications, experience and certificates: Awarded Thumbtack’s Bay Area Top Professional for Mindful Eating Coaching in 2018 and 2020. Master’s In Counseling From Santa Clara University 8+ Years of Yoga Teaching, Certified Yoga Alliance 200 Hour Certified Wellness Coach with Wellcoaches Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor Recovery Counselor at Cielo House Eating Disorder Residential Treatment Program (view on LinkedIn) Some other interesting facts about me include: I lived as a Zen Monk for 13 months and am a Lay-Ordained Zen Buddhist Monk. I’ve taken numerous, supervised, guided psychedelic journeys led by shamans, which have led me to profound life-changing insights.
While Jared’s work isn’t covered by insurance, many of his clients are able to take advantage of their company’s discretionary health payments. Of course, you’ll need to discuss this with your own tax advisor.
Eating Enlightenment is inspired by the science of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most popular and researched therapy treatment approach for all disorders in the United States. CBT also has been extensively researched for eating disorders as well. A hallmark of CBT is self-monitoring your thoughts with a written record, such as the Awareness Journal. Overall, CBT is very simple and highly effective. CBT is based on the idea that your subconscious thoughts underneath conscious awareness control your behavior without you even realizing it.
Often within 1 week of food journaling, a client will experience an ‘Eating Enlightenment’. After another week or two of work, binge eating frequency can go down dramatically. However, as with any real and deep process, these powerful effects deepen and spread over time. Clients usually repeatedly access deep parts of themselves they didn’t even realize existed! Over time, the effects become even more profound, including easier and even more consistent access to something Greater (whatever that is for you). Progressively deepening over time, Eating Enlightenment often shows up in life as a lightness of being and an opening of the heart and mind that enlightens you, your spirit, body, mind and soul.
While you likely have recorded calories or weight, that’s not what we are doing here. The exact opposite. Our emphasis is on how your mind works. Awareness. The food awareness journal makes no mention of amounts or calories, and instead places emphasis on time, place and most importantly, feelings, thoughts and physical sensations like hunger or the sensation of anxiety in your body.
Eating Enlightenment is different in 3 main ways when compared to normal therapy: In-The-Moment Support®: Basically more frequent communication, including optional real time support before a binge. Simple, Effective Approach: Many therapeutic techniques fail to address the underlying mechanisms at the core of binge eating. Other approaches such as Intuitive Eating are often too complicated, at least in the beginning. Measurable Progress (or Money Back): Many therapy approaches are difficult to measure objectively and do not offer money back guarantees.

Get Started With The Free App Today!

Eating Enlightenment Journal is a guided digital journaling app for meal time that assists with mindfully eating and other eating struggles.

The app has one rule: before each meal, you write about any thoughts or feelings you have related to your food at the moment. It helps users rein in mindless behaviors, grow mindful towards their body's cues, and move away from compulsive addiction-fueled bingeing.

Readers can also access tools like an eating history, as well as videos, podcasts and blog articles from Eating Enlightenment. 

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“Finally treating what’s within me”
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“44 years of binge eating; 100% GONE after 5 months.”
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“I’ve truly embraced the journal lifestyle.”

“For the first time in my life I am fitting into a small pair of pants – even after I had bought a larger, more comfortable slacks like Jared had suggested as part of making my body feel safe and comfortable. I’ve truly embraced the journal lifestyle I would say and It boggles my mind that 8 months after the program ended my waist is actually smaller and I no longer need the larger pants. Plus I have only an inkling of what my weight is when I had to check my weight when I went to the doctor’s office. I could have told the doctor I didn’t want my weight checked, that’s something Jared taught me, but I was curious and didn’t judge myself. It’s just crazy I’m still shocked these jeans fit. This is such good emotional work it really spills over into all of your life!”
– Angelica Wood 7th Grade Teacher

“For the first time in my life I am fitting into a small pair of pants – even after I had bought a larger, more comfortable slacks like Jared had suggested as part of making my body feel safe and comfortable. I’ve truly embraced the journal lifestyle I would say and It boggles my mind that 8 months after the program ended my waist is actually smaller and I no longer need the larger pants. Plus I have only an inkling of what my weight is when I had to check my weight when I went to the doctor’s office. I could have told the doctor I didn’t want my weight checked, that’s something Jared taught me, but I was curious and didn’t judge myself. It’s just crazy I’m still shocked these jeans fit. This is such good emotional work it really spills over into all of your life!”
– Angelica Wood 7th Grade Teacher

“For the first time in my life I am fitting into a small pair of pants – even after I had bought a larger, more comfortable slacks like Jared had suggested as part of making my body feel safe and comfortable. I’ve truly embraced the journal lifestyle I would say and It boggles my mind that 8 months after the program ended my waist is actually smaller and I no longer need the larger pants. Plus I have only an inkling of what my weight is when I had to check my weight when I went to the doctor’s office. I could have told the doctor I didn’t want my weight checked, that’s something Jared taught me, but I was curious and didn’t judge myself. It’s just crazy I’m still shocked these jeans fit. This is such good emotional work it really spills over into all of your life!”
– Angelica Wood 7th Grade Teacher

angelica
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“Yo-yo dieter free in 3 months.”
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“I just had a major Eating Enlightenment moment.”

“I am flying in the heavens as I write this. I just had a major eating enlightenment moment. I’ve been meditating and journaling throughout this entire program and I’m now able to take the role of witness of my behaviors and watch from my place of curiosity without self-judgment. It really seems like my brain is actually rewiring because I’m seeing food differently and my body. This morning I looked into the mirror and didn’t even recognize myself! It was like seeing an old, familiar friend after many years apart. I wanted to hug this woman and tell her that I missed her. And that I recognized your beauty. She was beautiful and confident. And that I looked at her even closer and I realized that she was my sister, my soul sister – she was me! It was though I had lifted a veil and was seeing the world for the first time. I’m just so excited about where this journey is taking me and I’m also proud to say in this moment there is no end. Just here now.”
– Riya Cottrell Writer

“I am flying in the heavens as I write this. I just had a major eating enlightenment moment. I’ve been meditating and journaling throughout this entire program and I’m now able to take the role of witness of my behaviors and watch from my place of curiosity without self-judgment. It really seems like my brain is actually rewiring because I’m seeing food differently and my body. This morning I looked into the mirror and didn’t even recognize myself! It was like seeing an old, familiar friend after many years apart. I wanted to hug this woman and tell her that I missed her. And that I recognized your beauty. She was beautiful and confident. And that I looked at her even closer and I realized that she was my sister, my soul sister – she was me! It was though I had lifted a veil and was seeing the world for the first time. I’m just so excited about where this journey is taking me and I’m also proud to say in this moment there is no end. Just here now.”
– Riya Cottrell Writer

“I am flying in the heavens as I write this. I just had a major eating enlightenment moment. I’ve been meditating and journaling throughout this entire program and I’m now able to take the role of witness of my behaviors and watch from my place of curiosity without self-judgment. It really seems like my brain is actually rewiring because I’m seeing food differently and my body. This morning I looked into the mirror and didn’t even recognize myself! It was like seeing an old, familiar friend after many years apart. I wanted to hug this woman and tell her that I missed her. And that I recognized your beauty. She was beautiful and confident. And that I looked at her even closer and I realized that she was my sister, my soul sister – she was me! It was though I had lifted a veil and was seeing the world for the first time. I’m just so excited about where this journey is taking me and I’m also proud to say in this moment there is no end. Just here now.”
– Riya Cottrell Writer

Riya Cottrell
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“Writing your thoughts onto paper truly does get them out of your head.”

I suppose if you are reading this then you too have struggled with diets, weight and the finicky scale. I’ve finally released the hold the scale has over me. The process of writing your thoughts onto paper truly does get them out of your head. I have finally released my chronic need to diet. Dieting for me was always about getting control when my life was falling apart. I was anxious and stressed all the time no wonder! I feel like Jared’s emphasis on emotional intelligence and self-care has really just glued all these pieces of intuitive eating together. And now that I’m taking care of myself I can a) recognize dieting thoughts and b) say politely no thanks to my dieting thoughts. Oh, and the scale, it’s more of an afterthought now. I check it about once a week but if I forget a day then I don’t care. Previously I would have checked multiple times per day. What a shift!”
– Claire Mcmanus Graphic Designer

I suppose if you are reading this then you too have struggled with diets, weight and the finicky scale. I’ve finally released the hold the scale has over me. The process of writing your thoughts onto paper truly does get them out of your head. I have finally released my chronic need to diet. Dieting for me was always about getting control when my life was falling apart. I was anxious and stressed all the time no wonder! I feel like Jared’s emphasis on emotional intelligence and self-care has really just glued all these pieces of intuitive eating together. And now that I’m taking care of myself I can a) recognize dieting thoughts and b) say politely no thanks to my dieting thoughts. Oh, and the scale, it’s more of an afterthought now. I check it about once a week but if I forget a day then I don’t care. Previously I would have checked multiple times per day. What a shift!”
– Claire Mcmanus Graphic Designer

I suppose if you are reading this then you too have struggled with diets, weight and the finicky scale. I’ve finally released the hold the scale has over me. The process of writing your thoughts onto paper truly does get them out of your head. I have finally released my chronic need to diet. Dieting for me was always about getting control when my life was falling apart. I was anxious and stressed all the time no wonder! I feel like Jared’s emphasis on emotional intelligence and self-care has really just glued all these pieces of intuitive eating together. And now that I’m taking care of myself I can a) recognize dieting thoughts and b) say politely no thanks to my dieting thoughts. Oh, and the scale, it’s more of an afterthought now. I check it about once a week but if I forget a day then I don’t care. Previously I would have checked multiple times per day. What a shift!”
– Claire Mcmanus Graphic Designer

Claire Mcmanus
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