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.
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.
Mantzios, M., & Wilson, J. C. (2015). Mindfulness, Eating Behaviours, and Obesity: A Review and Reflection on Current Findings. Current Obesity Reports, 1-6. Full text.
Abstract. Mindfulness and mindful eating have become popular in recent years. In this review, we first explore what mindfulness is in the context of psychological research, and why it offers promise for eating behaviours and weight loss. Second, we review the main empirical findings for weight loss in mindfulness-based intervention programmes. Third, contradictions in the findings are explored in more depth, and suggestions are made regarding why they may be occurring. Fourth, the benefits of adding self-compassion (and compassion) training to mindfulness practise to assist weight loss is discussed. Finally, the limitations of the research literature (and possible solutions) are explored.
Overall, it is concluded that while mindfulness meditations that specifically focus on eating may be extremely helpful in promoting better eating behaviours, and assist in weight regulation, work is still needed to make such interventions appeal to a wider audience.
Corsica, J., et al. (2014). Development of a novel mindfulness and behavioral intervention for stress-eating: A comparative pilot study. Eating Behaviors. In-press. Abstract.
Stress-related eating is increasingly cited as a difficulty in managing healthy eating behaviors and weight. However few interventions have been designed to specifically target stress-related eating. In addition, the optimal target of such an intervention is unclear, as the target might be conceptualized as overall stress reduction or changing emotional eating-related thoughts and behaviors.
This pilot study compared the effects of three interventions targeting those components individually and in combination on stress-related eating, perceived stress, and weight loss to determine whether the two intervention components are effective alone or are more effective when combined. Fifty-three overweight participants (98% female) who reported elevated levels of stress and stress-eating and were at risk for obesity were randomly assigned to one of three six- week interventions: A modified mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention, a cognitive behavioral stress-eating intervention (SEI), and a combined intervention that included all MBSR and SEI components.
All three interventions significantly reduced perceived stress and stress-eating, but the combination intervention resulted in greater reductions and also produced a moderate effect on short term weight loss. Benefits persisted at six week follow-up. The pattern of results preliminarily suggests that the combination intervention (MBSR + SEI) may yield promise in the treatment of stress-related eating.