Mindfulness practices as part of Weight Watchers program

Smith, Deborah. “Exploring the effects of introducing short, manageable mindfulness practises to adults seeking to lose weight in a UK Weight Watchers meeting.”  Proceedings. Dissertation projects, MA in Positive Psychology, Buckinghamshire New University, UK. pp. 43-58.

From the Abstract: Mindfulness and mindful eating are becoming recognised as effective methods in helping people to achieve a healthy weight.  Previous studies have involved relatively lengthy introductions to the practises, sometimes expecting participants to practise the mindfulness meditations for forty-five minutes per day. 

However this study examines participants’ experiences using brief introductions to mindful eating, breathing meditation and loving kindness meditation.  Integrated within a regular weekly Weight Watchers meeting, over a six week period, a fifteen minute introduction was given; a ten minute explanation and five minutes practise.  Two, five or ten minute meditations were suggested for home practise. 

Seven people out of the twenty-five participants were chosen to participate in the focus group used for feedback on the experience.  The interview explored the participants’ experiences of the practises and thematic analysis was used to identify themes within the participants’ accounts.  

The main conclusions from this study are that overweight people seeking to lose weight experience multiple benefits from the brief introductions and mindfulness practises; i.e., reduced stress, increased self-compassion and a more positive relationship with food was developed.  Participants reported an ease of engagement and unanimously wanted to continue practicing mindfulness as part of their on-going weight loss programme and possibly beyond.

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Self compassion/kindness in weight regulation and behavior change

Mantzios, Michail, and Helen H. Egan. “On the Role of Self-compassion and Self-kindness in Weight Regulation and Health Behavior Change.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 8, 2017, pp. 229. Full text.

From the Abstract. The construct of self-compassion has been investigated in relation to health behaviors, health behavior change, and health outcomes such as regulated eating and weight loss. Self-compassion has been defined as a mindful awareness of oneself, which involves treating oneself kindly and understanding oneself during difficult and challenging times by realizing that such experiences are common amongst all humans described how self-compassion consists of three interrelated components: self-kindness (vs. self-judgment), common humanity (vs. isolation), and mindfulness (vs. over-identification).

While the psychological benefits are well documented, the health behaviors and outcomes may require more consideration, and this opinion manuscript aims to shed light on potential problems in eating and weight issues. Initial findings of self-compassion in assisting regulated eating are promising, and are explored next.