6. Mindfulness Strategies Improves Eating Behaviour

and Facilitates Successful Weight-Loss

Mindfulness-based techniques can improve eating behavior and facilitate weight loss in individuals with obesity, reports a study published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, by Dr. Petra Hanson et.al.

Dr. Hanson from Clinical Sciences Research Laboratories, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW), UK, and her team, recruited 53 participants from patients attending a tier 3-based obesity service at UHCW. Mindfulness-based eating behaviour strategies were taught to the participants through four 90-minute group sessions. Themes of sessions included biological drivers of weight loss, differences between “mindful” and “mindless” eating behaviors, self-critical thought patterns and coping strategies, etc.

Following completion of attendance at the group sessions (33 completers), self-reported eating behaviour and body-weight were compared with the baseline. Weight difference was also assessed in a control group who did not attend the group sessions but received the standard multidisciplinary input.

Researchers found that participants in the mindfulness-based eating strategies group experienced greater mean weight loss vs. controls (3.1 kg vs. 0.21 kg), with a between-group difference of 2.85 kg (P = 0.036). Among participants in the mindfulness-based group, researchers also observed a 4% improvement in overall self-reported eating style between assessments at baseline and follow-up (driven by improvements in ‘fast-foodism’ [p=0.031]). Participants reported improved self-esteem and confidence in self-management of body-weight.

The study thus showed that application of mindfulness-based eating behaviour strategies, taught through group sessions to obese individuals attending specialist weight management service, can lead to significant improvement in eating behaviour, and facilitate subsequent weight-loss over 6-months. “Such intervention can be applied not only to improve the effectiveness of specialist weight management programs but also more widely to tackle the problem of unhealthy lifestyle.” says Dr. Hanson.

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