Indiana State University Newsroom

‘The Joy of Half a Cookie' teaches mindful eating

December 20, 2015

A new book by a retired Indiana State University professor may help those struggling to lose weight at a time when holiday treats are beckoning.

"The Joy of Half a Cookie: Using Mindfulness to Lose Weight and End the Struggle with Food," is scheduled for release Dec. 29.

Jean Kristeller, professor emeritus of psychology at Indiana State and co-founder of The Center for Mindful Eating, authored the book with writer Alisa Bowman.

"It's a different way for people to frame their intentions for the New Year," Kristeller said. "Mindfulness is about using the cues of physical hunger and satiety to guide your decisions on whether to begin and end eating meal or a snack. I wanted to teach people to create a different relationship with food."

"The Joy of Half a Cookie" provides an outline for balancing food and life using the 10-week, Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training program Kristeller created with funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Kristeller has researched the effects of psychology on health for decades. She has brought the practice of mindful eating to people through one-on-one and group sessions. Now, she hopes to reach a wider audience through the book, which explains both the science and practice of mindful eating she discovered through her research and clinical training on how the human body and mind regulate themselves.

"It's natural and normal to eat in response to emotions, celebrations or to comfort ourselves, but people need to do it in a positive way and not overdo it," Kristeller said. "I've worked with a lot of people who say they shouldn't eat anything sweet, but when the cookies are in front of them they have one cookie, then another and another and another until they end up eating the whole box, feeling guilty the whole time," she said.

Mindful eating teaches people how to enjoy those foods, but in small amounts, Kristeller explained. The practice also teaches them how to tune into the experience of actually tasting and savoring each cookie.

"I'm excited that this kind of book allows me to get the work I've developed for many years out to a broad number of individuals," Kristeller said. "People should be mindful of social pressures and situations that cause them to eat when they aren't hungry. You may not drop 10 pounds by the end of the month, but the hope is that people will find a way to be more flexible and continue to eat the foods they like, but consume smaller amounts of it and truly learn how to enjoy eating."

"The Joy of Half a Cookie" is available for purchase on A book signing is scheduled for 4 p.m. Jan 21 at the Barnes & Noble/Indiana State University College Bookstore. And on Jan. 29, she will be giving a three-hour workshop through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Indiana State (more info at at or 812-237-2345). She is also available for individual consultation (

Photo: - "The Joy of Half a Cookie"

Photo: - Jean Kristeller

Contact: Jean Kristeller, professor emeritus of psychology, Indiana State University, 812-877-3760 or



Story Highlights

A new book by Jean Kristeller, professor emerita of psychology and a noted researcher of mindful eating, may help people struggling to lose weight.

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