Improve Weight-Related Eating Behaviors with a Mindfulness App

Improve Weight-Related Eating Behaviors with a Mindfulness App

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“a slower, more thoughtful way of eating could help with weight problems and maybe steer some people away from processed food and unhealthy choices.” – Harvard Health

 

Eating is produced by two categories of signals. Homeostatic signals emerge from the body’s need for nutrients, is associated with feelings of hunger, and usually work to balance intake with expenditure. Non-homeostatic eating, on the other hand, is not tied to nutrient needs or hunger but rather to the environment and or to the pleasurable and rewarding qualities of food. These cues can be powerful signals to eat even when there is no physical need for food.

 

Mindful eating involves paying attention to eating while it is occurring, including attention to the sight, smell, flavors, and textures of food, to the process of chewing and may help reduce intake by affecting the individual’s response to non-homeostatic cues for eating. Indeed, high levels of mindfulness are associated with lower levels of obesity. Hence, mindful eating may counter non-homeostatic eating.

 

Mindfulness training programs over the internet and with smartphone apps have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. These online and smartphone app trainings have been shown to be effective. It is not known if a mindful eating smartphone app may be effective in reducing body weight and weight-related eating behaviors.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Mindfulness App Trial for Weight, Weight-Related Behaviors, and Stress in University Students: Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6479283/), Lyzwinski and colleagues recruited college students and randomly assigned them to receive apps for their smartphones for either mindfulness or a self-monitoring diet and exercise diary for an 11 week period. The mindfulness app consisted of body scan, diaphragmatic breathing, observing the breath, loving kindness meditation, concentration meditation, choiceless awareness mindfulness meditation, and Hatha yoga all adapted from the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The students were measured before and after the 11-week training for body size, physical activity, eating behavior, mindful eating, mindfulness, perceived stress, and participant retention and adherence.

 

They found in comparison to baseline and to the diet and exercise diary group, the mindfulness group had significant increases in mindfulness and mindful eating, and significant decreases in emotional eating, uncontrolled eating, and perceived stress levels. The diet and exercise diary group had significantly higher levels of exercise. There were no significant changes in body size for either group. 80% of the participants completed the program and of the mindfulness app group only 14% reported completing all modules, while 61% reported sporadic use, and 23% reported using it very seldom.

 

The results are encouraging and suggest that the mindfulness smartphone app is a feasible and acceptable method of increasing mindfulness and improving weight-related eating behaviors. Although retention is good, adherence was not. The students recruited, though, were not particularly motivated to lose weight or practice mindfulness. Perhaps, a more motivated group of participants would have resulted in better adherence. There also may be a need to modify the app to make participation more interesting and fun.

 

The fact there no changes in weight were observed was no surprising as the 11-week period is short to detect significant changes in weight. A long-term study is needed here. In addition, maintaining a diet and exercise diary has been shown to reduce food intake and increase exercise. A comparison of the mindfulness app to a group participating in nutrition education ap might be better able to demonstrate changes in body size. Regardless, the results are encouraging and suggest that an app, training students in mindfulness, may be a convenient and inexpensive means to develop better eating habits.

 

So, improve weight-related eating behaviors with a mindfulness App.

 

Increased mindful eating has been shown to help participants gain awareness of their bodies, be more in tune to hunger and satiety, recognize external cues to eat, gain self compassion, decrease food cravings, decrease problematic eating, and decrease reward-driven eating.” – Carolyn Dunn

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Lyzwinski, L. N., Caffery, L., Bambling, M., & Edirippulige, S. (2019). The Mindfulness App Trial for Weight, Weight-Related Behaviors, and Stress in University Students: Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 7(4), e12210. doi:10.2196/12210

 

Abstract

Background

University students are at risk of weight gain during their studies. Key factors related to weight gain in this population include unhealthy weight-related behaviors because of stress. Mindfulness holds promise for weight management. However, there has not been any previous trial that has explored the effectiveness of a student-tailored mindfulness app for stress, weight-related behaviors, and weight. There is limited evidence that current mindfulness apps use evidence-based mindfulness techniques. A novel app was developed that combined evidence-based, mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindful eating (ME) techniques that were tailored to university students, with student-relevant themes for targeting weight behaviors, weight, and stress.

Objectives

The aim of this study was to test the effectiveness, acceptability, and feasibility of a student-tailored mindfulness app for weight, weight-related behaviors, and stress. Testing this app in a rigorous randomized controlled trial (RCT) for these outcomes is a novelty and contribution to this emerging field.

Methods

A 2-arm RCT of an 11-week duration was undertaken at the University of Queensland. Students were either randomized to the mindfulness app (n=45) or to a behavioral self-monitoring electronic diary (e-diary; n=45) for diet and exercise. Analysis of covariance was used to compare differences in weight, stress, mindfulness, ME, physical activity, and eating behaviors between both groups.

Results

Neither the mindfulness app group nor the e-diary group lost weight and there were no differences between the groups at follow-up. The mindfulness app group had significantly lower stress levels (P=.02) (adherers only), lower emotional eating (P=.02), and uncontrolled eating (P=.02) as well as higher mindfulness (P≤.001) and ME levels overall (P≤.001). The e-diary group had higher metabolic equivalents of moderate activity levels (P≤.01). However, the effect sizes were small. Regular adherence to mindfulness exercises in the app was low in the group. The majority of students (94%) liked the app and found it to be acceptable. Compared with other exercises, the most helpful reported meditation was the short breathing exercise observing the breath (39.4% [13/33] preferred it).

This was the first RCT that tested a mindfulness app for weight and weight-related behaviors in students. The modest level of user adherence likely contributes to the lack of effect on weight loss. However, there was a small, albeit promising, effect on weight-related eating behavior and stress.

Conclusions

A mindfulness app demonstrated effectiveness for stress, eating behaviors, mindfulness, and ME, but the effect sizes were small. Future studies should be conducted over longer periods of time and with greater participant compliance.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6479283/

 

Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity in Adolescents with Yoga

Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity in Adolescents with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

But, after coming back to Vinyasa yoga, and making it a daily practice, my eating habits have completely changed. I now crave fruit, vegetables, whole grains and other yummy nutritional things. And I haven’t had to even think about it or “engage in battle” with my brain for one second. The healthy choice is the only choice I want.” – Leslie Lewis

 

Eating is produced by two categories of signals. Homeostatic signals emerge from the body’s need for nutrients, is associated with feelings of hunger, and usually work to balance intake with expenditure. Non-homeostatic eating, on the other hand, is not tied to nutrient needs or hunger but rather to the environment and or to the pleasurable and rewarding qualities of food. These cues can be powerful signals to eat even when there is no physical need for food.

 

Mindful eating involves paying attention to eating while it is occurring, including attention to the sight, smell, flavors, and textures of food, to the process of chewing and may help reduce intake by affecting the individual’s response to non-homeostatic cues for eating. Indeed, high levels of mindfulness are associated with lower levels of obesity. Hence, mindful eating may counter non-homeostatic eating. Yoga is a mindfulness technique and yoga practice has been found to reduce emotional eating, reduce eating disorders, and improve mental health and dieting in the obese. Hence, yoga practice may be a method to improve healthy eating and physical activity in adolescents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga’s potential for promoting healthy eating and physical activity behaviors among young adults: a mixed-methods study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5932774/ ), Watts and colleagues recruited middle and high school adolescents and had them complete measures of yoga practice, fruit and vegetable intake, sugar sweetened beverages, snack foods, fast foods, physical activity, and body size. A subset of the sample was recruited for qualitative interviews.

 

They found that those adolescents who practiced yoga had healthier diets and greater physical activity; including significantly greater consumption of fruits and vegetables and lower consumption of fast foods, snack foods, and sugar sweetened beverages. In addition, the greater the number of hours of yoga practice the better the diets and the greater the physical activity. In the interviews the adolescents indicated that yoga practice increased their mindful eating, cravings for healthier foods, and motivation for healthier eating, improved their management of stress and emotional eating. Also, they indicated that yoga practice increased their strength and flexibility and their desire to engage in other physical activities.

 

It should be kept in mind that these results are correlational and causation cannot be determined. But the results suggest that practicing yoga is associated with a constellation of healthy practices including healthier eating and greater physical activity. This is important as adolescence is the time when eating disorders and obesity develop. It is also the time for the establishment of eating and exercise habits. Thus, yoga practice may be a means to intervene early in life to establish a healthier lifestyle and promote health and well-being throughout life. It remains for future research to examine the effects of training adolescents in yoga on their health and well-being.

 

So, promote healthy eating and physical activity in adolescents with yoga.

 

One of the unique aspects of yoga as an activity is its holistic approach. Yoga practitioners focus on both mental and physical well-being. Similarly, food yoga isn’t only about cooking and eating, it’s about considering your thoughts and emotions as well.” – Yalla Mediteranian

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Watts, A. W., Rydell, S. A., Eisenberg, M. E., Laska, M. N., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2018). Yoga’s potential for promoting healthy eating and physical activity behaviors among young adults: a mixed-methods study. The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 15(1), 42. doi:10.1186/s12966-018-0674-4

 

Abstract

Background

A regular yoga practice may have benefits for young adult health, however, there is limited evidence available to guide yoga interventions targeting weight-related health. The present study explored the relationship between participation in yoga, healthy eating behaviors and physical activity among young adults.

Methods

The present mixed-methods study used data collected as part of wave 4 of Project EAT (Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults), a population-based cohort study in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Young adults (n = 1820) completed the Project EAT survey and a food frequency questionnaire, and a subset who reported practicing yoga additionally participated in semi-structured interviews (n = 46). Analyses of survey data were used to examine cross-sectional associations between the frequency of yoga practice, dietary behaviors (servings of fruits and vegetables (FV), sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and snack foods and frequency of fast food consumption), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Thematic analysis of interview discussions further explored yoga’s perceived influence on eating and activity behaviors among interview participants.

Results

Regular yoga practice was associated with more servings of FV, fewer servings of SSBs and snack foods, less frequent fast food consumption, and more hours of MVPA. Interviews revealed that yoga supported healthy eating through motivation to eat healthfully, greater mindfulness, management of emotional eating, more healthy food cravings, and the influence of the yoga community. Yoga supported physical activity through activity as part of yoga practice, motivation to do other forms of activity, increased capacity to be active, and by complementing an active lifestyle.

Conclusions

Young adult yoga practitioners reported healthier eating behaviors and higher levels of physical activity than non-practitioners. Yoga should be investigated as an intervention for young adult health promotion and healthy weight management.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5932774/

 

Improve Adolescent’s Self-Compassion and Reduce Emotional Eating with Mindful Parenting

Improve Adolescent’s Self-Compassion and Reduce Emotional Eating with Mindful Parenting

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Interestingly, parents who simply had higher trait mindfulness did not see significantly better outcomes for their kids, suggesting that being mindful and being a mindful parent may be two different things.” – Jill Suttie

 

Raising children, parenting, is very rewarding, but it can also be challenging. Children test parents frequently. They test the boundaries of their freedom and the depth of parental love. These challenges require that the parents be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. It improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction. Mindful parenting involves the parents having emotional awareness of themselves and compassion for the child and having the skills to pay full attention to the child in the present moment, to accept parenting non-judgmentally and be emotionally non-reactive to the child.

 

Obesity has become an epidemic in the industrialized world. In the U.S. the incidence of obesity, defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above has more than doubled over the last 35 years to currently around 35% of the population, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese (BMI > 25). Sadly, children and adolescents have not been spared with 1 in 5 school age children and young people (6 to 19 years) classified as obese. This can be particularly troubling to adolescents who are very sensitive regarding their bodies and appearance and can be the victim of ridicule or shaming by peers.

 

One helpful method to reduce intake and help to control body weight is mindful eating. It involves paying attention to eating while it is occurring, including attention to the sight, smell, flavors, and textures of food, to the process of chewing and may help reduce intake. Indeed, high levels of mindfulness are associated with lower levels of obesity and mindfulness training has been shown to reduce binge eating, emotional eating, and external eating. In addition, mindfulness has been shown to improve the individual’s ability to respond adaptively to emotions. Hence, mindfulness may be an antidote to emotional eating. It is not known if mindful parenting can reduce emotional eating in adolescents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Is Mindful Parenting Associated With Adolescents’ Emotional Eating? The Mediating Role of Adolescents’ Self-Compassion and Body Shame.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02004/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_812127_69_Psycho_20181030_arts_A ), Gouveia and colleagues recruited parent-adolescent dyads of mother or father and their 12-18 year old adolescent. The parents were measured for body size and mindful parenting. The adolescents were measured for body size, self-compassion, body shame, and emotional eating. The dyads were separated based upon the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the adolescents into normal weight and overweight and obese (BMI > 85th percentile) groups. They then performed a regression analysis of the data.

 

They found that the best fitting model of the data indicated that mindful parenting of the adolescents by the parents was associated indirectly with reduced emotional eating by the adolescents. The indirect path indicated that mindful parenting was associated with increased adolescent self-compassion which was in turn associated both with reduced emotional eating and reduced feelings of shame concerning their bodies which in turn was associated with reduced emotional eating. They also found that the facet of mindful parenting that was most associated with the benefits was the parents’ compassion for the child.

 

These results are correlational, so no conclusions regarding causation can be inferred. The results, however, are suggestive that the parents’ compassion for the child affects the child’s feelings of compassion toward itself which helps the child overcome feeling of shame about its body, all of which contribute to reduced eating in response to emotions. It remains for future research to determine if promoting parental compassion toward the adolescent may cause positive change in the adolescent, improving self-compassion, reducing body shame, and in turn reducing emotional eating.

 

So, improve adolescent’s self-compassion and reduce emotional eating with mindful parenting.

 

“Mindful parenting means that you bring your conscious attention to what’s happening, instead of getting hijacked by your emotions. . . It’s about accepting whatever is going on, rather than trying to change it or ignore it. Being a mindful parent means that you pay attention to what you’re feeling. It does not mean that you will not get angry or upset. Of course you will feel negative emotions, but acting on them mindlessly is what compromises our parenting.” – Parent Co

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Gouveia MJ, Canavarro MC and Moreira H (2018) Is Mindful Parenting Associated With Adolescents’ Emotional Eating? The Mediating Role of Adolescents’ Self-Compassion and Body Shame. Front. Psychol. 9:2004. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02004

 

This study aimed to explore whether parents’ mindful parenting skills were associated with adolescents’ emotional eating through adolescents’ levels of self-compassion and body shame. The sample included 572 dyads composed of a mother or a father and his/her child (12–18 years old), with normal weight (BMI = 5–85th percentile) or with overweight/obesity with or without nutritional treatment (BMI ≥ 85th percentile) according to the WHO Child Growth Standards. Parents completed self-report measures of mindful parenting (Interpersonal Mindfulness in Parenting Scale), and adolescents completed measures of self-compassion (Self-Compassion Scale-Short Form), body shame (Experience of Shame Scale), and emotional eating (Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire). Two path models, one with the total score for mindful parenting and the other with its dimensions, were tested in AMOS. Mindful parenting, specifically the dimension of compassion for the child, was indirectly associated with emotional eating through adolescents’ self-compassion (point estimate = −0.27, p = 0.03, CI 95% [−0.61, −0.06]) and through self-compassion and body shame sequentially (point estimate = −0.19, p = 0.03, CI 95% [−0.37, −0.05]). The path model was invariant across weight groups but not across adolescents’ sex (the indirect effects were significant among girls only). This study provides a novel comprehensive model of how mindful parenting, especially the dimension of compassion for the child, can be associated with adolescents’ emotional eating behaviors by suggesting a potential sequence of mechanisms that may explain this association. This study suggests the beneficial effect of both mindful parenting and adolescents’ self-compassion skills for adolescent girls struggling with feelings of body shame and emotional eating behaviors.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02004/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_812127_69_Psycho_20181030_arts_A

 

Reduce Eating with Mindfulness

Reduce Eating with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Eating as mindfully as we do on retreat or in a mindfulness course is not realistic for many of us, especially with families, jobs, and the myriad distractions around us. . . So have some self-compassion, and consider formal mindful eating on retreat and special occasions, as well as informal mindful eating in your daily life.” – Christopher Willard

 

Eating is produced by two categories of signals. Homeostatic signals emerge from the body’s need for nutrients, is associated with feelings of hunger, and usually work to balance intake with expenditure. Non-homeostatic eating, on the other hand, is not tied to nutrient needs or hunger but rather to the environment, to emotional states, and or to the pleasurable and rewarding qualities of food. These cues can be powerful signals to eat even when there is no physical need for food. External eating is non-homeostatic eating in response to the environmental stimuli that surround us, including the sight and smell of food or the sight of food related cause such as the time of day or a fast food restaurant ad or sign.

 

Mindful eating involves paying attention to eating while it is occurring, including attention to the sight, smell, flavors, and textures of food, to the process of chewing and may help reduce intake. Indeed, high levels of mindfulness are associated with lower levels of obesity and mindfulness training has been shown to reduce binge eating, emotional eating, and external eating. In today’s Research News article “Effects of a Brief Mindful Eating Induction on Food Choices and Energy Intake: External Eating and Mindfulness State as Moderators.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://link-springer-com.ezproxy.shsu.edu/article/10.1007%2Fs12671-017-0812-0 ), Allirot and colleagues examined the effects of a very brief mindful eating instruction on subsequent food intake.

 

They recruited adult women (aged 20-60 years) and randomly assigned them to watch a 7-minute video on mindful eating or a control video on gastronomic science. In the mindful eating video “participants were shown how to taste foods, focusing on (1) sight (instruction: “observe the food as if you were seeing it for the first time”); (2) touch (instruction: “touch it and explore its texture”; (3) smell (instruction: “perceive olfactory sensations in each breath”; (4) taste and oral sensations, first without chewing and then while chewing the food slowly; and, finally, (5) ingestive effects while swallowing and immediate post-ingestive effects after swallowing.”

 

The participants then tasted 4 finger foods, tomato and mussel brochette with vinaigrette, ham and goat cheese brochette with pine nuts and walnuts, fruit brochette, of chocolate candy and rated their liking for the foods. They were then presented with a buffet containing the 4 finger foods and asked to fill out questionnaires about their eating and told to eat however much of the foods they wanted. They were measured before and after the taste test and after the buffet for subjective appetite, hunger, fullness, and desire to eat. They were measured for mindfulness after the taste test and the amounts of foods eaten during the buffet were recorded. The next day they completed measures of restrained, emotional, and external eating behavior.

 

They found that the group instructed in mindful eating during the buffet test ate fewer high-density finger foods and ingested less overall food energy (calories) than the control group. This occurred even though there were no differences in the liking for the foods, or intake of low-density finger foods. They also demonstrated that the mindful eating group in comparison to the control group ate fewer finger foods and less food energy when their mindfulness levels were high regardless of their propensity for external eating.

 

The findings suggest that mindful eating, even when only induced by a brief instruction, can alter the amounts and types of foods subsequently eaten. One design issue with the study is that the participants were only allowed 15 minutes for the buffet test. Mindful eating instructions specifically instruct slower eating. So, the instruction might have reduced intake by slowing down eating during a fixed period. Nevertheless, the results are suggestive of the ability of mindful eating to reduce intake.

 

So, reduce eating with mindfulness.

 

Mindful eating involves paying full attention to the experience of eating and drinking, both inside and outside the body. We pay attention to the colors, smells, textures, flavors, temperatures, and even the sounds (crunch!) of our food. We pay attention to the experience of the body. Where in the body do we feel hunger? Where do we feel satisfaction? What does half-full feel like, or three quarters full?” – Jan Chozen Bays

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Xavier Allirot, Marta Miragall, Iñigo Perdices, Rosa Maria Baños, Elena Urdaneta, Ausias Cebolla, Effects of a Brief Mindful Eating Induction on Food Choices and Energy Intake: External Eating and Mindfulness State as Moderators. Mindfulness (2018) 9: 750. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0812-0

 

Abstract

Mindfulness techniques have been shown to have protective effects on eating. However, no studies have been conducted on the effect of a single mindful eating (ME) induction on subsequent food choices and intake, and the way eating behaviors and the mindfulness state might moderate this effect. The objectives of the present study were to assess (1) the effect of an ME induction on food choices, intake, liking, and appetite, and (2) whether eating behaviors and the mindfulness state moderate the effect on intake. Seventy adult women (35.27 ± 1.27 years old; body mass index 22.79 ± 0.44 kg/m2) were invited to a tasting session. Participants in the mindful group received the instruction to taste the foods in a mindful manner (without meditation training). Participants in the control group were instructed to taste the foods with no specific recommendations. Afterwards, participants were offered an individual buffet-style snack containing the foods previously tasted. During this snack, the mindful group showed a reduced number of high-energy-dense food items eaten (p = .019) and a decreased energy intake (p = .024), compared to controls. No differences were found between groups on appetite and liking. Moderation analyses showed that the ME induction was able to reduce the total number of food items and energy intake in participants who combined higher levels of external eating and lower levels of mindfulness state. Results encourage the promotion of ME, particularly in external eaters with low mindfulness state levels, and they support ME as a strategy to promote healthy eating.

https://link-springer-com.ezproxy.shsu.edu/article/10.1007%2Fs12671-017-0812-0

 

Improve Weight Loss in the Overweight with Mindfulness

Improve Weight Loss in the Overweight with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

In our complex, fast-paced world, mindfulness meditation and similar techniques have been recommended to reduce stress, enhance immunity, boost learning, increase productivity and more. New research suggests an important addition to the list: At least three recent studies have suggested that mindful eating can improve weight-loss efforts and combat obesity.” – Amby Burfoot

 

Obesity has become an epidemic in the industrialized world. In the U.S. the incidence of obesity, has more than doubled over the last 35 years to currently around 35% of the population, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese (Body Mass Index; BMI > 25). Although the incidence rates have appeared to stabilize, the fact that over a third of the population is considered obese is very troubling. This is because of the health consequences of obesity. Obesity has been found to shorten life expectancy by eight years and extreme obesity by 14 years. This occurs because obesity is associated with cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease and hypertension, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and others.

 

Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to prevent or treat obesity. But, despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Mindfulness is known to be associated with lower risk for obesityalter eating behavior and improve health in obesity. This suggests that mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for overeating, overweight, and obesity alone or in combination with other therapies.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy With Mindfulness and an Internet Intervention for Obesity: A Case Series.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2018.00056/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_715866_87_Nutrit_20180724_arts_A ), Ogata and colleagues recruited 3 overweight adult women who had previously tried and failed to lose weight. They were provided a program of mindfulness training in combination with Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and daily recording of food intake. Treatment occurred in 60-minute weekly meetings for 9 weeks. It was aimed at developing mindfulness and “to increase distress tolerance, improve healthy coping strategies, and reduce maladaptive coping strategies (e.g., avoidant and impulsive coping styles that involve emotional eating); and relearning adaptive eating habits.” The women were measured weekly for body size, eating behaviors, anxiety, and mindfulness and at a follow-up assessment occurring 18 months later.

 

The three participants over the 9-week program lost 6.9%, 5.3%, and 8.9% of their body weight respectively and all had continued to lose weight over the subsequent 18 months; 14.0%, 7.9%, and 11% respectively. The participants also showed significant decreases in emotional and external eating and increases in mindfulness and restrained eating. Hence the mindfulness and CBT program was successful in producing significant and prolonged weigh reductions and altered eating behaviors toward a more restrained eating.

 

There was no control condition so a placebo effect or experimenter bias effect may be present. But, the participants did not lose weight when involved in other dietary programs where comparable placebo and experimenter bias effects would be expected to have been in effect. So, these sources of confounding are unlikely to account for the weight losses.

 

Mindfulness training with CBT has been previously been shown to increase mindful eating and that eating food mindfully can results in lower overall intake and weight loss. The program has also been shown to reduce the psychological and physical responses to stress and stress is known to promote eating. So, it is reasonable to conclude that it produces its effects on the body weight of overweight individuals by increasing mindful eating and reducing stress.

 

So, improve weight loss in the overweight with mindfulness.

 

“Although average weight loss was modest at post-treatment, continued decreases in weight at follow-up is encouraging and highlights the potential of using mindfulness training to support weight loss and its maintenance.” – Regina Schaffer

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Ogata K, Koyama KI, Amitani M, Amitani H, Asakawa A and Inui A (2018) The Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy With Mindfulness and an Internet Intervention for Obesity: A Case Series. Front. Nutr. 5:56. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2018.00056

 

It is difficult for obese (body mass index of more than 30) and overweight (body mass index of 25–30) people to reduce and maintain their weight. The aim of this case series was to examine the effectiveness of a new cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program that combines mindfulness exercises (e.g., the raisin exercise and breathing exercises) and an online intervention to prevent dropout and subsequent weight gain in overweight participants. This case series included three participants, for whom previous weight reduction programs had been unsuccessful. All participants completed the program (60-min, group sessions provided weekly for 9 weeks) and an 18-month follow-up assessment. Results showed that all participants succeeded in losing weight (loss ranged from 5.30 to 8.88% of their total body weight). Although rebound weight gain is commonly observed in the first year following initial weight loss, the follow-up assessment showed that participants achieved further weight loss during the 18-month follow-up period. These results suggest that a CBT program that comprises mindfulness and an online intervention may be an effective method for weight loss and maintenance, and may prevent dropout in obese and overweight individuals.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2018.00056/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_715866_87_Nutrit_20180724_arts_A

 

Reduce Emotional Eating with Mindfulness

Reduce Emotional Eating with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“It wasn’t until I began to eat mindfully that I realized why I was eating so much, and why it was so hard to change. I started to realize how much of a crutch food was for me, and how I used it to deal with so many emotions.” – Leo Babauta

 

Eating is produced by two categories of signals. Homeostatic signals emerge from the body’s need for nutrients, is associated with feelings of hunger, and usually work to balance intake with expenditure. Non-homeostatic eating, on the other hand, is not tied to nutrient needs or hunger but rather to the environment, to emotional states, and or to the pleasurable and rewarding qualities of food. These cues can be powerful signals to eat even when there is no physical need for food. Emotional eating is non-homeostatic eating in response to strong negative emotions. It is an attempt to assuage the uncomfortable feelings.

 

Mindful eating involves paying attention to eating while it is occurring, including attention to the sight, smell, flavors, and textures of food, to the process of chewing and may help reduce intake. Indeed, high levels of mindfulness are associated with lower levels of obesity and mindfulness training has been shown to reduce binge eating, emotional eating, and external eating. In addition, mindfulness has been shown to improve the individual’s ability to respond adaptively to emotions. Hence, it mindfulness may be an antidote to emotional eating.

 

In today’s Research News article “An Exploratory Study of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Emotional Eating.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6042285/ ), Levoy and colleagues recruited participants in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. MBSR consists of meditation, yoga, and body scan practices and discussion. The program meets once a week for 2.3 hours and has assigned homework. The participants were measured before and after the program for body size, mindfulness, emotional eating, and perceived stress.

 

They found that after the program there was a significant increase in mindfulness and a significant reduction in emotional eating. In addition, the greater the increase in mindfulness, the greater the decrease in emotional eating. It should be noted that there wasn’t a control comparison condition other than the baseline, so these results must be viewed cautiously as preliminary. But, the results suggest that a larger randomized controlled clinical trial is called for. They suggest that mindfulness may be an antidote to emotional eating.

 

So, reduce emotional eating with mindfulness.

 

“Mindfulness helps us distract our minds from those cravings. We can use it as a tool to really think about why we want to eat something and whether or not it’s truly good for us – or bad. Mindfulness can also help you problem solve how to feel better without hurting yourself through food or other means.” – Mindy Pelz

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Levoy, E., Lazaridou, A., Brewer, J., & Fulwiler, C. (2017). An Exploratory Study of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Emotional Eating. Appetite, 109, 124–130. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2016.11.029

 

Abstract

Emotional eating is an important predictor of weight loss and weight regain after weight loss. This two part study’s primary aim was to explore changes in emotional eating in a general population of individuals taking the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, with a secondary aim to explore whether changes in mindfulness predicted changes in emotional eating. Self-reported survey data exploring these questions were collected before and after the intervention for two sequential studies (Study 1 and Study 2). While there were no control groups for either study, in both studies emotional eating scores following the MBSR were significantly lower than scores prior to taking the MBSR (p<0.001; p< 0.001) In Study 2, changes in mindfulness were correlated with changes in emotional eating (r= 0.317, p=0.004). These results suggest that MBSR may be an effective intervention for emotional eating, and that further research is warranted to examine effects on weight loss and maintenance.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6042285/

 

Improve Eating Behavior with Mindfulness

Improve Eating Behavior with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindful eating involves paying full attention to the experience of eating and drinking, both inside and outside the body. We pay attention to the colors, smells, textures, flavors, temperatures, and even the sounds (crunch!) of our food. We pay attention to the experience of the body. Where in the body do we feel hunger? Where do we feel satisfaction? What does half-full feel like, or three quarters full?” – Jan Chozen Bays

 

Eating is produced by two categories of signals. Homeostatic signals emerge from the body’s need for nutrients, is associated with feelings of hunger, and usually work to balance intake with expenditure. Non-homeostatic eating, on the other hand, is not tied to nutrient needs or hunger but rather to the environment and or to the pleasurable and rewarding qualities of food. These cues can be powerful signals to eat even when there is no physical need for food.

 

Mindful eating involves paying attention to eating while it is occurring, including attention to the sight, smell, flavors, and textures of food, to the process of chewing and may help reduce intake by affecting the individual’s response to non-homeostatic cues for eating. Indeed, high levels of mindfulness are associated with lower levels of obesity. Hence, mindful eating may counter non-homeostatic eating.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that is based upon Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ACT focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. Additionally, ACT helps people strengthen aspects of cognition such as in committing to valued living. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effects of acceptance and commitment therapy on eating behavior and diet delivered through face-to-face contact and a mobile app: a randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5828146/ ), Järvelä-Reijonen and colleagues examine the effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on facilitating mindful eating and as a result improving eating behavior and diet. They recruited overweight and obese adults (aged 25-60 years) and randomly assigned them to receive ACT either face-to-face in a group setting or on line or to a no-treatment control. ACT was delivered for 90 minutes, once a week over 8 weeks.

 

The participants were measured before and 2 weeks and 28 weeks after the intervention for perceived stress, intuitive eating, including unconditional permission to eat, eating for physical rather than emotional reasons, and reliance on internal hunger/satiety cue. They were also measured for cognitive restraint of eating, uncontrolled eating, emotional eating, taste pleasure, using food as a reward, eating attitudes, food acceptance, internal regulation, contextual skills, and eating behaviors, including intrinsic motivation, integrated regulation, identified regulation, introjected regulation, external regulation, and amotivation. Finally, they were measured for food and nutrient intakes including alcohol.

 

They found that both the face-to-face and the on-line Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) training produced significant improvements in the reasons for eating from emotional or environmental triggers towards hunger and satiety cues, acceptance of a variety of foods, and perceptions of healthy eating. They also showed significant increases in eating for physical rather than emotional reasons while decreases in using food as a reward. In general, the face-to-face ACT training produced larger improvements than the on-line ACT training. But, both were effective. Even though there were many improvements in the psychological components surrounding eating produced by ACT training, there were no significant changes in actual dietary intake.

 

These results are interesting and suggest that ACT training, regardless of whether it occurs face-to-face or on-line, alters the psychology of eating toward more mindful eating and toward homeostatic eating. These are very healthy changes. The fact, however, that they were not reflected in actual changes in intake is disappointing. Perhaps if there was an active dietary reduction component, there might have been a change in intake. But, without this emphasis on intake reduction it is hard to see what the motivation might be for the participants to reduce the amounts of food ingested. It is also possible that given more time for the psychological changes to take hold, intake changes may have occurred. Finally, even though the participants were overweight and obese they were weight stable, neither increasing or decreasing intake. They were eating an appropriate amount for their metabolic needs, neither overeating nor undereating. So, changing then psychology of eating may not affect their intake as it is appropriate for the circumstances.

 

So, improve eating behavior with mindfulness.

 

Mindless eating happens when you are distracted by something else so that all of your attention is not on what you are eating or how you are eating.  When distracted, we are far more likely to shift into autopilot and overeat and this is one very common reason for weight gain.” – J. Marlin

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Järvelä-Reijonen, E., Karhunen, L., Sairanen, E., Muotka, J., Lindroos, S., Laitinen, J., … Kolehmainen, M. (2018). The effects of acceptance and commitment therapy on eating behavior and diet delivered through face-to-face contact and a mobile app: a randomized controlled trial. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 15, 22. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-018-0654-8

 

Abstract

Background

Internal motivation and good psychological capabilities are important factors in successful eating-related behavior change. Thus, we investigated whether general acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) affects reported eating behavior and diet quality and whether baseline perceived stress moderates the intervention effects.

Methods

Secondary analysis of unblinded randomized controlled trial in three Finnish cities. Working-aged adults with psychological distress and overweight or obesity in three parallel groups: (1) ACT-based Face-to-face (n = 70; six group sessions led by a psychologist), (2) ACT-based Mobile (n = 78; one group session and mobile app), and (3) Control (n = 71; only the measurements). At baseline, the participants’ (n = 219, 85% females) mean body mass index was 31.3 kg/m2 (SD = 2.9), and mean age was 49.5 years (SD = 7.4). The measurements conducted before the 8-week intervention period (baseline), 10 weeks after the baseline (post-intervention), and 36 weeks after the baseline (follow-up) included clinical measurements, questionnaires of eating behavior (IES-1, TFEQ-R18, HTAS, ecSI 2.0, REBS), diet quality (IDQ), alcohol consumption (AUDIT-C), perceived stress (PSS), and 48-h dietary recall. Hierarchical linear modeling (Wald test) was used to analyze the differences in changes between groups.

Results

Group x time interactions showed that the subcomponent of intuitive eating (IES-1), i.e., Eating for physical rather than emotional reasons, increased in both ACT-based groups (p = .019); the subcomponent of TFEQ-R18, i.e., Uncontrolled eating, decreased in the Face-to-face group (p = .020); the subcomponent of health and taste attitudes (HTAS), i.e., Using food as a reward, decreased in the Mobile group (p = .048); and both subcomponent of eating competence (ecSI 2.0), i.e., Food acceptance (p = .048), and two subcomponents of regulation of eating behavior (REBS), i.e., Integrated and Identified regulation (p = .003, p = .023, respectively), increased in the Face-to-face group. Baseline perceived stress did not moderate effects on these particular features of eating behavior from baseline to follow-up. No statistically significant effects were found for dietary measures.

Conclusions

ACT-based interventions, delivered in group sessions or by mobile app, showed beneficial effects on reported eating behavior. Beneficial effects on eating behavior were, however, not accompanied by parallel changes in diet, which suggests that ACT-based interventions should include nutritional counseling if changes in diet are targeted.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5828146/

 

Mindfulness Effects on Eating Disorders Depends on Ethnicity

Mindfulness Effects on Eating Disorders Depends on Ethnicity

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The practice of mindful eating may be helpful to those struggling with eating disorders, such as bulimia, binge eating disorder and compulsive overeating. It is common for individuals with eating disorders to numb emotions through restricting, binging or choosing foods that are not pleasurable while eating. Mindful eating can help a person reconnect to the joy and experience of eating by creating an awareness of thoughts, emotions, feeling, and behaviors associated with the eating experience.” – Julia Casidy

 

Around 30 million people in the United States of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder; either anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 26. Eating disorders are not just troubling psychological problems, they can be deadly, having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Eating disorders can be difficult to treat because eating is necessary and cannot be simply stopped as in smoking cessation or abstaining from drugs or alcohol. One must learn to eat appropriately not stop. So, it is important to find methods that can help prevent and treat eating disorders. Contemplative practices, mindfulness, and mindful eating have shown promise for treating eating disorders.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness as a Moderator of the Association Between Eating Disorder Cognition and Eating Disorder Behavior Among a Non-clinical Sample of Female College Students: A Role of Ethnicity.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00700/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_695451_69_Psycho_20180705_arts_A ), Masuda and colleagues recruited college women  and had them complete online demographic characteristics including racial identity and body size and measures of eating disorder behaviors, mindfulness, and the thought patterns associated with eating disorders (eating disorder cognitions). These include “rigid beliefs about the importance of weight regulation, strong beliefs in appearance as the basis of self-worth, and inflexible beliefs in self-control as the basis of self-esteem.”

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of eating disorder cognitions but only for Asian and white American and not black women mindfulness was also associated with lower levels of eating disorder behaviors. They then performed a hierarchical regression to determine moderation effects and found that only for white women mindfulness moderated the effects of eating disorder cognitions on eating disorder behaviors such that high mindfulness significantly weakened the association of cognitions with behavior.

 

These are interesting results that suggest that how young women think about eating disorders affects eating disordered behavior. Mindfulness only appeared to influence this association for a single racial group, white American women. Since most research with eating disorders is performed with young white women, these results call into question the generalizability of mindfulness ability to reduce eating disorders. It would appear to be not true for black and Asian American women. Why mindfulness effects differ between racial groups is unknown and will require future research to investigate.

 

What is clear is that how a woman thinks about her weight and self-worth is a significant contributor to the potential development of an eating disorder. This predicts that perhaps Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) might be particularly useful in treating or preventing eating disorders particularly in white women.

 

“Practicing mindfulness techniques has proven to be extremely helpful in aiding individuals to understand the driving forces behind their eating disorder. . . students receiving mindfulness demonstrated significant reductions in weight and shape concern, dietary restraint, thin-ideal internalization, eating disorder symptoms, and psychosocial impairment.”

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Masuda A, Marshall RD and Latner JD (2018) Mindfulness as a Moderator of the Association Between Eating Disorder Cognition and Eating Disorder Behavior Among a Non-clinical Sample of Female College Students: A Role of Ethnicity. Front. Psychol. 9:700. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00700

 

The present cross-sectional study examined whether mindfulness moderated the association between eating disorder cognition and eating disorder behaviors among Asian American, Black American, and White American female college students in the United States. Participants (N = 463, age range = 18–25 years) completed self-report measures online. Results revealed that mindfulness moderated the association between eating disorder cognition and eating disorder behavior in the White American group, but not in Asian American or Black American samples. Future research should replicate these differential findings across ethnic groups and investigate the factors that may contribute to this group difference.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00700/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_695451_69_Psycho_20180705_arts_A

 

Reduce Eating When Not Hungry with Mindfulness

Reduce Eating When Not Hungry with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Being mindful helps you gain awareness so you can identify specific cues that influence your eating behavior. Practicing mindfulness can change your actions so that you have a sense of greater control over eating. It allows you to make deliberate decisions about eating instead of acting without thinking. “ – Carolyn Dunn

 

Obesity has become an epidemic in the industrialized world. In the U.S. the incidence of obesity, defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above has more than doubled over the last 35 years to currently around 35% of the population, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese (BMI > 25). Although the incidence rates have appeared to stabilize, the fact that over a third of the population is considered obese is very troubling. This is because of the health consequences of obesity. Obesity is associated with cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease and hypertension, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and others. Indeed, obesity has been found to shorten life expectancy by eight years and extreme obesity by 14 years. Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to prevent or treat obesity.

 

Eating is produced by two categories of signals. Homeostatic signals emerge from the body’s need for nutrients, is associated with feelings of hunger, and usually work to balance intake with expenditure. Non-homeostatic eating, on the other hand, is not tied to nutrient needs or hunger but rather to the environment and or to the pleasurable and rewarding qualities of food. These cues can be powerful signals to eat even when there is no physical need for food.

 

Mindful eating involves paying attention to eating while it is occurring, including attention to the sight, smell, flavors, and textures of food, to the process of chewing and may help reduce intake by affecting the individual’s response to non-homeostatic cues for eating. Indeed, high levels of mindfulness are associated with lower levels of obesity. Hence, mindful eating may counter non-homeostatic eating.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness and Laboratory Eating Behavior in Adolescent Girls at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5878719/ ), Annameier and colleagues recruited overweight or obese adolescent girls between 12 to 17 years of age who were at risk for the development of Type II diabetes. They were measured for body size and composition, mindfulness, episodes of loss of control (binge) eating in the past month, their state of hunger, and depressive symptoms. They were also tested in the lab where they were provided a buffet lunch meal and instructed to eat till they were no longer hungry. As a test of eating in the absence of hunger, an hour after the beginning of the lunch the girls were provided with an array of snacks (e.g. popcorn, chips, candy, and ice cream) and asked to taste them and rate them for liking. They were then left for 15 minutes and told that they could eat as much as they’d like. Their intake of the snacks was measured.

 

They found that the girls who reported engaging in loss of control eating during the previous month had higher body mass indexes (BMIs) and ate significantly more in the absence of hunger and tended to have lower mindfulness than the girls who did not report any cases of loss of control eating. They also found that the girls who reported engaging in loss of control eating ate more in the lunch when they were hungry. With the test of eating the snacks (eating in the absence of hunger) but not when eating hungry, they found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the amount eaten.

 

Hence, mindfulness is related to lower intake when hunger is absent but does not affect intake when hunger is present. This suggests that mindfulness does not affect homeostatic eating but rather only affects non-homeostatic food intake. This is important as responding to hunger with intake is adaptive, satisfying the body’s need for nutrients. On the other hand, eating in the absence of hunger is ingesting unneeded food energy and may contribute to overweight and obesity. The fact that mindfulness only appears to affect eating in the absence of hunger suggests that it tends to counteract this more harmful form of eating.

 

So, reduce eating when not hungry with mindfulness.

 

“The moment you become aware that you are eating mindlessly, it’s hard not to “see” it anymore. When you sit on the coach robotically eating chips or at a bar popping peanuts into your mouth, you recognize the behavior right away. This little inner voice speaks up and says, “Hey, I am mindlessly eating right now!”” – Susan Albers

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Annameier, S. K., Kelly, N. R., Courville, A. B., Tanofsky-Kraff, M., Yanovski, J. A., & Shomaker, L. B. (2018). Mindfulness and Laboratory Eating Behavior in Adolescent Girls at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes. Appetite, 125, 48–56. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2018.01.030

 

Abstract

Mindfulness-based intervention has become increasingly popular to address disinhibited eating in obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Theoretically, present-moment attention promotes the ability to recognize and respond to internal hunger cues and to differentiate physiological hunger from other stimuli. Yet, there is limited research describing the relationship of mindfulness with disinhibited eating patterns in adolescents. In this study, we evaluated the relationship of dispositional mindfulness to laboratory eating in 107 adolescent (12–17 years) girls at risk for T2D. Adolescents reported dispositional mindfulness, were evaluated for recent loss-of-control-eating (LOC-eating) by interview, and participated in two successive, standardized laboratory test meals to assess eating when hungry as well as eating in the absence of hunger (EAH). Adolescents rated state appetite throughout the test meal paradigms. In analyses adjusting for body composition and other possible confounds, mindfulness was inversely related to caloric intake during the EAH paradigm. Mindfulness did not relate to energy intake when hungry. Instead, there was a significant interaction of reported LOC-eating by state hunger, such that girls with recent, reported LOC-eating and high state hunger consumed more calories when hungry, regardless of mindfulness. Findings suggest that in girls at risk for T2D, mindfulness may play a role in disinhibited eating. A propensity for LOC-eating may be most salient for overeating in a high hunger state.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5878719/

 

Grazing is Associated with Lower Mindful Eating and Greater Body Fatness

Grazing is Associated with Lower Mindful Eating and Greater Body Fatness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yep, most vets suggest not leaving food out to graze on. As humans, we can follow the same guidelines to avoid becoming overweight. A consistent routine is more easily transitioned into habit. If you currently graze all day long, shift to scheduled meals and snacks. It will take some mindfulness, but try to leave two to three hours between all points of eating.” – Jill Koegel

 

Obesity has become an epidemic in the industrialized world. In the U.S. the incidence of obesity, defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above has more than doubled over the last 35 years to currently around 35% of the population, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese (BMI > 25). Although the incidence rates have appeared to stabilize, the fact that over a third of the population is considered obese is very troubling. This is because of the health consequences of obesity. Obesity has been found to shorten life expectancy by eight years and extreme obesity by 14 years. This occurs because obesity is associated with cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease and hypertension, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and others. Obviously, there is a need for effective treatments to prevent or treat obesity.

 

Eating is produced by two categories of signals. Homeostatic signals emerge from the body’s need for nutrients and usually work to balance intake with expenditure. Non-homeostatic eating, on the other hand, is not tied to nutrient needs but rather to the environment and or to the pleasurable and rewarding qualities of food. These cues can be powerful signals to eat even when there is no physical need for food. A pattern of food intake called “grazing” is defined as the uncontrolled and repetitive eating of small amounts of food. It is not known if this pattern may be associated with overeating and obesity.

 

Mindful eating involves paying attention to eating while it is occurring, including attention to the sight, smell, flavors, and textures of food, to the process of chewing and may help reduce intake by affecting the individual’s response to non-homeostatic cues for eating. Indeed, high levels of mindfulness are associated with lower levels of obesity. Hence, mindful eating may counter non-homeostatic eating. It is also possible that it may counter the “grazing” pattern of intake.

 

In today’s Research News article “How does grazing relate to body mass index, self-compassion, mindfulness and mindful eating in a student population?” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5846935/ ), Mantzios and colleagues recruited college students and measured them for body size, mindfulness, self-compassion, mindful eating, and “grazing”. The relationships between these measures were explored with a regression analysis.

 

As predicted, they found that the higher the levels of “grazing” the larger the degree of obesity (Body Mass Index, BMI) and the lower the levels of self-compassion. In addition, they found that the higher the levels of mindful eating the smaller the degree of obesity. Finally, they found that the relationship between ”grazing” and body fatness was mediated by mindful eating. That is, ”grazing” is associated with reduced mindful eating which, in turn, is associated with lower body fatness. Hence, it appears that “grazing” is associated with obesity by being associated with less mindful eating.

 

This study is correlative and thus no conclusions regarding causation can be supported. But, the result suggests an interesting potential association between “grazing” and obesity, mediated by mindful eating. Future research should look at the effect in increasing mindful eating on the relationship between “grazing” and obesity and also at the effect of reducing “grazing” on mindful eating and body fatness. It is possible that altering the grazing pattern may be a useful strategy in reducing intake and perhaps body weight and fatness.

 

“Learning how to snack mindfully can help you create a healthy relationship with your food, mind and body. We need to accept our cravings and recognise when we’re experiencing them but also arm ourselves with snacks that are wise and nutritious.” – Mindfood

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Mantzios, M., Egan, H., Bahia, H., Hussain, M., & Keyte, R. (2018). How does grazing relate to body mass index, self-compassion, mindfulness and mindful eating in a student population? Health Psychology Open, 5(1), 2055102918762701. http://doi.org/10.1177/2055102918762701

 

Abstract

Contemporary research investigating obesity has focused on grazing (i.e. an uncontrolled and repetitive consumption of small amounts of food). Meanwhile, constructs such as mindfulness, mindful eating and self-compassion have received much attention in assisting individuals with eating behaviours and weight regulation. The association between those constructs and grazing, however, has not been explored. In a cross-sectional study, university students (n = 261) were recruited to explore the relationship of mindfulness, mindful eating and self-compassion with current weight and grazing. Results indicated that all constructs were negatively related to grazing, but only mindful eating related negatively to current weight. In addition, mindful eating mediated the relationship between grazing and current weight. Possible explanations and future directions are discussed further with an emphasis on the need for more empirical work.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5846935/