All-you-can-eat buffets and mindful eating

Ali, Zeeshan, et al. “All you can eat Buffets, obesity, mindfulness, and mindful eating: An exploratory investigation.” Journal of Psychology and Psychiatry, vol 1, no. 1, 2017, pp. 1-5. Full text.

Abstract. Obesity has been mostly explained through the change in our everyday environments and the increased availability of foods. All-You-Can-Eat-Buffets (AYCEB) is a typical example of the developing ‘obesogenic’ environment, but there is a paucity of research, which fails to explore both internal and external contributing aspects to eating behaviour.

In two studies, the frequency of visits at AYCEB is investigated against the Body Mass Index (BMI), psychological traits (i.e., mindfulness and selfcompassion, (n=210) and eating behaviors (i.e., mindful eating, n=183) which have been found to assist weight regulation.

Results indicated that frequency of visits and BMI are unrelated. Significant relationships were found only with two subscales, where buffet visits negatively correlated with awareness within mindful eating, while a positive correlation was found between buffet visits and self-kindness. While results fit within the limited literature available, the generic future applicability of mindfulness-based constructs and interventions in eating behaviours is discussed.

Emotion regulation and mental habit in mindful eating

Fisher, Naomi R., et al. “Dispositional mindfulness and reward motivated eating: The role of emotion regulation and mental habit.” Appetite, published online 21 Jul 2017.

From the Abstract.  Evidence regarding the effectiveness of mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) for eating disorders, weight management and food craving is emerging and further studies are required to understand the underlying mechanisms of MBIs in these domains.

The current study was designed to establish the role of specific mechanisms underlying the putative relationship between mindfulness and reward motivated eating. We predicted that mindfulness would be negatively related to features of reward motivated eating and that this association would be mediated by emotion regulation and habitual negative self-thinking.

A cross-sectional survey measuring uncontrolled and emotional eating, mindfulness, emotion regulation and habitual negative self-thinking was completed by female and male meditators and non-meditators (N = 632). Lower levels of dispositional mindfulness were associated with difficulties in emotion regulation, habitual negative self-thinking and both emotional and uncontrolled eating.

Difficulties in emotion regulation significantly mediated the mindfulness-uncontrolled eating relationship. Habitual negative self-thinking significantly mediated the mindfulness-emotional eating relationship. Participants with meditation experience reported greater levels of dispositional mindfulness, fewer difficulties with emotion regulation and habitual negative self-thinking and reduced uncontrolled eating tendencies, compared to non-meditators.

The findings suggest that MBIs designed to change reward motivated eating and weight control should focus on emotion regulation and mental habits as underlying mechanisms.

Weight-loss and health-related behaviors (review & analysis)

Ruffault, A., et al. (2016). The effects of mindfulness training on weight-loss and health-related behaviours in adults with overweight and obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. Summary.

  • Mindfulness training has been related to the adoption of healthier behaviours.
  • We conducted a meta-analysis of RCTs testing mindfulness training for weight loss.
  • Mindfulness decreases binge and impulsive eating and increases physical activity.
  • No effects of mindfulness training on weight loss in adults with excess weight.
  • Study design is a major source of heterogeneity in study effects.

Mindfulness and binge eating disorder

Randomized controlled trial of a 12-month computerized mindfulness-based intervention for obese patients with binge eating disorder: The MindOb study protocol. Full text. 


Mindfulness-based interventions for healthy behaviors such as exercise and dietary modifications have aroused growing interest. This study aims to test the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention for the reduction of impulsive eating and the improvement of motivation to exercise among obese individuals.


One-hundred and twenty obese outpatients, aged 18 to 65 years, diagnosed with a binge eating disorder, will be randomly assigned to one of the three following groups: mindfulness practice, sham meditation, or treatment as usual control. The tested intervention consists of a 1-year computerized mindfulness-based program. Mindfulness sessions are audio recordings that the patients are asked to listen to, 10 min every day. Self-reported questionnaires measuring impulsive eating, motivation to exercise, physical activity level, mood, and mindfulness skills are filled in at baseline, 1, 6, and 12 months. Physical activity, calories consumption, and biomarkers are measured with more objective measurement tools at baseline, 6 months and 12 months.


Mindfulness, as both a de-automation element and as a moderator of motivation to exercise, can lead to the reduction of impulsive eating and also to an increase in levels of physical activity. These effects could cause weight loss in obese patients suffering from binge eating disorder.