Mindful eating as healthy weight regulation

chickenLofgren, Ingrid Elizabeth. “Mindful Eating An Emerging Approach for Healthy Weight Management.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (2015): 1559827615569684. Abstract.

Excess weight continues to exact high costs at the individual, national, and global levels. Traditional methods used to reduce excess weight and promote healthy weight regulation have not been overly successful. Therefore, rigorous quantitative and qualitative research is needed to assess emerging and alternative approaches to determine effective strategies to confront this public health challenge. One such approach is applying mindfulness, or a nonjudgmental acceptance of living in the moment, to eating.

Mindful eating is a nonjudgmental acceptance of physical and emotional feelings while eating or in an eating environment. Mindful eating constructs include recognizing one’s own cues of physical hunger and satiety in order to make decisions about what food and how much to eat, choosing foods that are nutritious and pleasurable, not participating in other activities while eating, and knowing the consequences of unmindful eating.

The nascent mindful eating literature shows success in increasing mindfulness and promising but less robust outcomes with anthropometric biomarkers of healthy weight regulation. Mindful eating is an emerging healthy weight regulation approach that has the potential to address the challenges clients and patients experience with healthy weight regulation, but additional research is needed to confirm which health outcomes will be consistently affected.

Current findings on mindfulness, eating behaviours, and obesity

chozenEatingMantzios, 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.