Can mindfulness help in weight reduction?

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

Recently, mindful interventions have directed their focus toward weight loss and eating. Eating mindfully will help people to eat slower, be focused on body sensations, and also eat healthier.

Consumption of foods high in sugar and saturated fats, as well as the lifestyles with no physical activity, have made obesity one of the diseases of the century which causes massive health problems; Including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Bariatric surgeries or conventional behavioural treatments have been mostly used for weight loss.

However, nowadays psychology of individuals plays an important role during weight loss procedures. For example, mindfulness-based training concentrates on bodily sensations including hunger and satiety in order to make individuals become fully aware of the present moment. These interventions also broaden one’s perspective, view subjective experiences as impermanent and fleeting as well as move the main attention from exercising and mindless food consumption.


Moreover, it helps in accepting the reality, releasing self-judgments, negative emotions and stress. The aim is to teach the individuals to eat according to homeostatic signals and actual energy needs by eating in response to physiological hunger and satiety cues rather than situational and emotional cues. Therefore, individuals become less responsive to external food cues, stress, negative emotions, or cravings.

Fletcher in 1949 developed an idea to chew food for up to 50-100 times in order to liquefy foods in the mouth. This slows food intake, reduces energy intake, enriches the hedonic food experience and confers a preference for high-quality foods.

A study by Rebekka Schnepper examined the effects of a short weight loss intervention by integrating mindfulness-based training techniques with prolonged chewing training. 46 individuals were included and randomized to either intervention group IG or control group WG.

During 4 weeks of follow-up, the BMI (body mass index) was decreased, whereas the eating styles, who had the main focus, showed positive changes. The individuals in the intervention group reported eating less often in response to negative emotions which is called emotional eating, or food cues/opportunity which is external eating. They represented eating more rarely which led to reduced diet failure.

In conclusion, combining mindfulness-based training techniques with chewing training can help in the reduction of the consequences of sedentary living and unhealthy eating. Therefore, this integration makes mealtime a relaxing, conscious, and positively valenced experience.

Source: A combined mindfulness–prolonged chewing intervention reduces weight, food craving, and emotional eating.
Rebekka Schnepper, 2020
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