Mindful eating can improve weight-loss efforts and combat obesity March 08, 2018 11:03

At least three recent studies have suggested that mindful eating can improve weight-loss efforts and combat obesity

In our complex, fast-paced world, mindfulness meditation and similar techniques have been recommended to reduce stress, enhance immunity, boost learning, increase productivity and more.

mindful eating

Mindfulness may work, the papers propose, because it strengthens the weakest link in most diets: the adherence or compliance problem. Many people can lose roughly 5 percent of their weight by strictly following a weight-loss program for three to six months. But then the tide inevitably turns, and the pounds return. It’s maintaining weight-loss that presents the biggest obstacle.

Successful dieting may be less about the math — calories in and calories out — and more about the mind. Any behavioral trick that helps you stick to the original plan will enhance your long-term success. That’s where mindful-eating strategies come in.

mindful eating

“Increased mindful eating has been shown to help participants gain awareness of their bodies, be more in tune to hunger and satiety, recognize external cues to eat, gain self compassion, decrease food cravings, decrease problematic eating, and decrease reward-driven eating.”

A simple document titled “12 Mindful Eating Strategies” is among the guides provided to participants. It includes such advice as:

●Make eating an exclusive event — don’t watch TV.

●Appreciate food — acknowledge the gift with gratitude.

●Eat slowly to recognize your hunger and fullness cues. Put your fork down between bites, chew your food well and make each meal last at least 20 minutes.

mindful eating

“On both sides, we heard from people who had lost the most weight that we helped them change their relationship to food,” said lead researcher Chris Gardner. “And that now they were more thoughtful about how they ate.”