What I Do

Hi! My name is Jared.

I'm the guy behind the scenes here and I help people get unstuck from their food compulsions and gain inner peace by journaling

Journaling before you eat is often the link that's missing for people who've struggled with food for years.

All the other great stuff that you've tried - therapy, nutritionists, etc ... comes after you build a solid foundation based on the practice of journaling.

My Education Background, Qualifications, and Awards

Be sure to check out our Results page to see what other people have to say about working with me.

I've helped close to a hundred clients over the years and I am certain that if you can commit to this process of journaling, as detailed below, you will be able to transform your relationship with food.

Now that we've got that stuff out of the way, let's explore journaling, and then I'll share my story about how I came to fall in love with journaling.


Why Journaling Works

Journaling is inspired by the practical science of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

When I work with clients individually we start with journaling. It's the foundation for all the healing to come.

As clients progress with journaling, we explore other areas like nutrition, inner child healing and Intuitive eating.

I know many people want to skip right to intuitive eating and making peace with food, but from my years of experience (see below) it's best to start with the simple and proven method of journaling, first!

But why journaling? What does the science have to say about journaling?

journal coffee

"CBT focuses on identifying the negative feelings and behaviors that cause binge eating and helps put strategies in place to improve them. It is the most effective treatment for BED." - HEALTHLINE

"Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most researched psychotherapy for BED, and at present, the best-supported among all treatment options.” - VERY WELL MIND

“Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy has been found more effective than other treatments. CBT typically eliminates binge eating and purging in 30-50% of all cases.” - OXFORD CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY

"Cognitive-behavioral therapy really gets to the core of the thoughts and feelings that are behind this disorder." - WEBMD


“The success of CBT is also clear in the treatment of eating disorders, as it is “significantly more efficacious in reducing core behavioral and cognitive symptoms than control conditions, alternative psychological interventions, and pharmacological treatments in patients with bulimia nervosa (BN), binge-eating disorder (BED).” - EATING DISORDER HOPE

"Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment model ... CBT is becoming more prevalent in eating disorder treatment settings, particularly with Binge Eating Disorder (BED). - WALDEN EATING DISORDERS

“CBT can be a very helpful tool ― in treating mental health disorders, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or an eating disorder” - MAYO CLINIC

“The percentage of treatment completers who achieved abstinence at post-treatment was 42.1%” - PUBMED

Really, the only quote you need to know is directly above you.

42%.

Abstinence after treatment.

It's not that intuitive eating isn't important, or you don't need to heal from trauma.

It's just that binge eating often gets in the way of these things.

And binge eating makes healing and eating intuitively a lot harder.

There is a way to get over the hump of overeating, so you can find the life and health you deserve - mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. 

Let me share my story and how I came to Love journaling!

public figure Jared Levenson

Hi, I'm Jared.

I'm an introspective, analytical, calm, positive, optimist guy.

The reason I like journaling has NOTHING to do with food.

I've been journaling my whole life actually. I'm one of those people :)

But, journaling also really helped me out with food, and I bet that's why you're here.

You want to know how I came to help people with food, so that's the story I am going to tell.

Let me just share real quick,  I struggled with the symptom of binge eating and emotional turmoil for 6+ years. 

I say symptom because even after I got over bingeing, I still had a long ways to truly heal. 

Today this day I'm a work in progress, and I've come a long ways. 

But from where have I come? What's been my journey like? 

My why? 

Growing up, I had many of the same tendencies as a high functioning autistic. 

  • Never learned about emotions so always felt confused
  • Disconnected from my body
  • Didn't understand social cues so often alone

The pain of not belonging, like a literal hole in my heart present at all times, a mark of shame.

Being branded with that deep down.

In hindsight, and after years of therapy, I now know my story and can own it.

I never got the love I needed as a child and my self-esteem was dependent upon my weight, grades, doing well in music and "perfect" eating.

If I fell short, my inner critic would simply bash me unendingly. 

And someone I would always end up turning towards food and marijuana, habitually, addictively.

jared levenson binge eating wrestler picture from high school

In high school I wrestled and played piano.

If I made a mistake in piano, when I played alone as a kid growing up in the middle of the woods outside of Sacramento - I would want to punish the people who were listening to me.

If I "cracked" while playing scales, because I thought I had to play the scales without making any mistakes at all ...

If I made a mistaken, then I would take it out on whoever was listening to me.

Just pound the keys for hours, it felt like.

Try to make their ears hurt.

In high school I started wrestling, and I started trying to be perfect with food too.

  • Restricting and exercising like crazy to lose weight, weighing myself on scale frequently
  • Doing hundreds of sit-ups and push-ups every day at night
  • But most of all, a disconnection. A zoning out. An exhaustion. A numbing that I didn't really want to stop doing ...

My struggles continued in college.

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.

Of course, while food was my friend and helped me to calm down and feel less lonely, food was also my worst enemy and I HATED my dependence on food.

Hated myself for hating food and loving it so much at the same time, being absolutely powerless by it, literally not even caring if I had more food.

I'd try my hardest to get rid of food, to cut it out, to manage it, to beat it, but nothing ever worked long term.

I'd just "fall in love" again.

I always doubted myself. It seemed like the more control I tried to exert over my life, the worse an eventual relapse would be, and I would fall deeper into shame, despair and hopelessness.

I can't tell you how many times I would be vigilant, perfect and doing well for a week or two ... suddenly to regress and endlessly abuse my body and mind with food.

  • I became depressed.
  • I started hating myself.
  • I saw a counselor, and a nutritionist, but couldn't stop my eating habits.
  • I even tried mushrooms, appetite suppressants, you name it.

Me and my autistic f**king self.

It just felt like "I" was broken and nothing would ever fix me.

So ...

Feeling pretty hopeless, I decide 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. 

My heart was settled. By mastering meditation and my emotions, I would finally beat my inner demons!

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.

That's me in the bottom right, and across from me on the far left is author Brad Warner, author of Hardcore Zen.

Ahhh, hardcore zen. I remember those days.

the Mindful moment Where everything changed for me. One Moment.

During my time in the monastery, I was accidentally introduced to the principles I would later need to stop bingeing 100%.

But at the time I didn’t know exactly what I was learning. 

My 1st day living as a Zen Monk, up in the mountains without electricity or internet.

There were dozens of other monks and we were about to have dinner.

Me and about 30 other monks, in a dinner hall, some of them in the picture above who would become allies and friends ...

I stared down and saw a normal meal in front of me.

I had no appetite, and I would be sitting with everyone "eating" for 30 minutes.

If I just left my plate empty, they would notice.

I really didn't want to eat any food.

My patterns back then were restrict, or binge.

But these people were holding me accountable, and so I ate.

I finally had friends.

before and after picture of jared with binge eating versus jared as monk without binge eating

So yes, I gained after as I got better.

And I feel a hell of a lot better. 

Are you starting to get a feel for 'why' I do this stuff, even though I'm a guy with a background of emotional neglect.

I learned some stuff up in the monastery that really helped me get over bingeing. 

Lesson #1

We all sat in silence for 10 minutes, with our food in front of us.

Without eating it!

  • I wanted to run away from my emotions
  • My thoughts were screaming at me

But I was surrounded by other Zen Monks!

So I didn't dare touch my rice or even move...

Pause And Be Mindful Towards My Food, Instead Of Bingeing, Thinking Or Restricting.

stop stress eating woman picture who is choosing between fruit and sugary foods but looking up at the ceiling mindfully
  • Obviously this photo isn't me
  • But this the whole point
  • By learning how to truly be mindful around food ...
  • I learned how to be with my food differently.

The rest is history.

13 months go by ...

I am over bingeing by now ...

And while there is more to my story, including the years of therapy where I learned to heal my inner child through 'narrative journaling' ...

Soothing my inner emotional wounds, trauma from neglect ...

For now, my point is that journaling can get you over the hump.

For me - forcing mindfulness to 10x the normal level - was the key.

Now I had a monastery.

But I didn't know about CBT food journaling back then.

What if I knew about CBT food journaling while I lived in the monastery?

Well, I would have healed wayyyy quicker.

But I didn't know about journaling back then.

Because journaling will also 10x your mindfulness.

In fact, I don't know of any other tool that can replace journaling.

Journaling is similar, different than meditation.

Both journaling and meditation:

  • grounding 
  • establish connect with your body & emotions
  • witness thoughts

However, journaling is different than meditation too:

  • putting words to feelings instead of letting go of concepts
  • CBT journaling is organizing in the beginning (so it works with your thinking mind, instead of fighting it)
  • Need to meditate to journal, but do not need to journal to meditate.

Basically, journaling I believe is the best way to 10x your mindfulness, and this really does work to stop binge eating according to my experience, from what I've seen personally, and science!

Science baby yeah!

I've gone from Disconnected and stuck >> to connected and at peace with my self and body!

At the end of 13 months living as a Zen Monk, I was finally ready to return to the world!

  • I gained so much confidence and clarity that I went back to school and completed my education. What if your inner critic became your inner helper?
  • I finally became ready emotionally to have friends because I didn't freak out around food in social settings. What if you were finally ready to move on?
  • I even found my life purpose, which I am now still pursuing to this day and which I am very passionate about! What if that life purpose bullshit you've heard your whole life was actually, possible, buried deep down under a pile a mud but maybe journaling wipes away that mud and you see a diamond.

Now my life purpose: help people get unstuck from their food compulsions and gain inner peace by journaling!

This is why I created Eating Enlightenment!

I've gone from an awkward, broken, little boy to a decently confident, fairly charismatic guy.

I am still a bit awkward, quiet, introverted ... but I just have like no shame now.

Or way less shame, rather. It's there still, but way less. 

I can remember thinking for years about how I hated myself, but ...

Now, I actually like myself.

Wow!

Close to 12 years later ...

After working through my own emotional struggles including:

  • obsessive thinking
  • body disconnection
  • trauma responses and much more ...

After studying for the past 12 years in professional settings:

  • going to graduate school for counseling
  • working at eating disorder treatment centers
  • becoming an award winning coach
  • And finally, founding Eating Enlightenment ...

I'm very proud to have compiled what I've learned into ...

Proven "Journaling" Training Program

journal journaling
  • This training program does NOT tell you what to eat or how much.
  • It does NOT track your weight.
  • This approach is NOT permanent and you are NOT expected to follow these steps for the rest of your life.

Plus, this training program is flexible. It is what you want it to be.

  • You are in the pilot seat.
  • You are in control.
  • You are the one deciding what works for you and what doesn't.

This training program is a lot like learning how to ride a bike.

You spend a few weeks learning how to journal.

Just like you would spend a few weeks learning to ride a bike.

Then watch in amazement as you actually find your balance.

You'll be able to see your compulsions in real time and be able to DECIDE whether to act on them or not.

Instead of falling left into restriction and deprivation ...

Or right into bingeing ...

10x'ing your mindfulness is the key to find balance.

And get this too!

  • After you get the hang of this method in a few weeks, you can let go of journaling too!
  • Because like a bike, once you learn you don't forget!
  • You don't need to journal for the rest of your life!

According to CBT science, average treatment length is less than 20 sessions.

You've done those 10 session therapy packages right?

Look, I am biased with therapy. 

There's a whole story behind that too, but I got lucky and found somebody who worked for me.

Because I went to school for my counseling graduate degree, where I learned about the inner child wounds ...

I knew the type of therapist I was looking for.

If you've had a bad experience with therapy, please know it's probably because:

a) you were working with a generalist and not somebody specific
b) you didn't have a connection with the therapist
c) even if you did have a connection, it was only 10 sessions.

Good news - journaling is a skill, just like playing piano.

And here's the secret:

You don't need to be that 'good' at journaling to stop bingeing.

Remember, here at Eating Enlightenment, your first step is getting over the hump with journaling.

We're not expecting to heal you overnight or even in a few months.

But we can get you over the hump of binge eating in a few months.

20 sessions.

Less than that if you journal before you eat everyday.

10x your mindfulness.

It's the only key to breaking free.

That's what the science says.

What Do Other Overeaters Say About This "Journaling" Approach?

I was overwhelmed with information on the Internet about how to stop bingeing. It has been immensely helpful to be taught how to journal and the reason why I’m journaling. Also, learning how to journal on a step-by-step basis made it not an overwhelming task. I have been able to pinpoint multiple times when I would normally have binged because I paused and took time to journal, I was able to avoid it entirely.

The first word that comes to mind is NORMAL. At week 6, I noticed a significant change, and it was my breakthrough. Before week 6&7, it was my internal dialogue. I could NOT say ‘no’ to binge eating even when I was full. That has all changed now because I realized it is so much more than just telling myself ‘no.’ The method here that goes beyond saying ‘no’ to myself is journaling… while every method had some value, I’d say journaling was the missing piece to my success

Working with Jared made me believe that food does not have power over me—it is fuel. I always thought it was wrong to feel and process anger and many other emotions. I was taught to “soldier on,” and this seems effective, but ultimately it steers you away from the true information source which is our emotions. It is life-changing to truly understand that emotions are sources of information, not pain.

I did continue to journal and access my eating patterns and my feelings when I ate. I can proudly say I haven’t binged for about a month! I’m so proud of myself and you were a big part of this journey in my life. I want you to know you did help me a lot in the time we did work together.

Journaling Works Best For People Who ...

Like me, really like journaling.

Obviously journaling works best if you like it.

But even if you don't like it, there's tons of science saying writing down things is generally a really help thing to do.

Journaling with mindfulness - not tracking calories - is great for people who:

  • Analytical
  • Productive
  • People who think too much and aren't so good at the feeling part
  • Want something new and effective
  • Feel stuck by mental thoughts and compulsions
  • Have a spiritual side and want to explore it in writing
  • Feel drawn to the idea of journaling (but NOT calorie counting!)

Are you one of these people?

If you are READY to take this next inward step on your journey ...

I invite you book a Strategy Call if you want to learn more about journaling.

We also have a private community too.