Treat Obesity with Mindfulness

Treat Obesity with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“ mindfulness breeds resilience—a quality necessary for one to stick with your diet or exercise regimen. And given how much of our unhealthy eating is essentially mindless—such as stuffing our faces while we watch television—it’s easy to see how simply paying attention could have a significant impact on our diets.” – Tom Jacobs

 

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. 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 and obesity alone or in combination with other therapies.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of mindfulness training and dietary regime on weight loss in obese people.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5319254/, Asadollahi and colleagues recruited obese (BMI>30) individuals and randomly assigned them to one of four conditions; No-treatment, dietary regimen, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), or MBCT plus dietary regimen. MBCT was administered in 2-hour sessions once a week for 8 weeks and consists of mindfulness training and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) that is targeted at investigating and altering the individuals aberrant thought process. Participants were measured for psychopathology and anyone with significant pathology was eliminated from the study. The participants were also measured before and after the interventions and 2 months later for body weight and height.

 

They found that mindfulness training alone or a dietary regimen alone produced significant weight losses that persisted 2 months after the end of formal training. When mindfulness training was combined with a dietary regiment the weight loss was significantly greater at the end of training and 2 months later. So, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is effective in reducing weight in obese participants and its effectiveness is amplified by combining it with a dietary regimen. So, mindfulness training can help to reduceobesity alone or in combination with dieting.

 

It is unclear how MBCT produces these positive effects on obesity, but it is known that MBCT can increase mindful eating and that eating food mindfully can results in lower overall intake and weight loss. MBCT is also known to reduce the psychological and physical responses to stress and stress is known to promote eating. So, it is reasonable to conclude that MBCT produces its effects on the body weight of the obese by increasing mindful eating and reducing stress.

 

So, treat obesity with mindfulness.

 

“Mindful eating is eating with purpose, eating on purpose, eating with awareness, eating without distraction, when eating only eating, not watching television or playing computer games or having any other distractions, not eating at our desks.” – 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

 

Asadollahi, T., Khakpour, S., Ahmadi, F., Seyedeh, L., Tahami, Matoo, S., & Bermas, H. (2015). Effectiveness of mindfulness training and dietary regime on weight loss in obese people . Journal of Medicine and Life, 8(Spec Iss 4), 114–124.

 

Abstract

The present research was aimed to investigate the effectiveness of mindfulness training and dietary regime on weight loss in obese people. The research was quasi-experimental with posttest-pretest that used control group. The population consisted of all the individuals who attended two clinics of nutrition advice and diet therapy in Karaj. 60 individuals, whose BMI was more than 30, were selected by using the random sampling method. Moreover, they were evaluated by using the SCL-90 test in order to neglect them in case there existed any other significant disorder. Next, they were selected based on age, sex, and education. After explaining the individuals the ongoing research and collecting the informed consent written by them, the samples were placed in four groups (15 in each group). The groups that received mindfulness training attended the nutrition center for eight to 120-minute sessions. In addition, since all the participants referred to the center were motivated to lose weight, individuals who were placed in the control group and those who received mindfulness training were asked not to follow any specific diet for two months. Moreover, the in depth relaxation CD was prepared for those who asked, in order to train themselves at home. Descriptive statistical methods were employed in order to analyze the data and ANACOVA and variance analysis with frequent measurement were used. The research findings indicated that mindfulness training was accompanied by diet, which resulted in weight loss in obese patients. In addition, the findings of the two-month follow-up indicated lasting results.

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5319254/

Be More Mindful and Weigh Less

Be More Mindful and Weigh Less

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“People who practice mindfulness regularly learn to regulate their attention by focusing nonjudgmentally on thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. This are central features of mindfulness as a strategy to change eating behaviours.” – Now Unlimited

 

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. 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 and obesity alone or in combination with other therapies.

 

In today’s Research News article “Associations of Dispositional Mindfulness with Obesity and Central Adiposity: the New England Family Study.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4965799/

Loucks and colleagues recruited a sample of 400 from the New England Family Study (NEFS), which includes 17,921 participants born between 1959 and 1974 with extensive longitudinal data. Childhood weight and height was recorded and mindfulness measured. Based upon the participants’ mindfulness scores they were separated into three groups; low, medium, and high mindfulness. They were further measured for adult height, weight, body mass index (BMI), hip and waist circumference, and body fat. They further adjusted the data to control for age, gender, race/ethnicity, birth weight, childhood socioeconomic status, and childhood intelligence.

 

They found that the low mindfulness group had significantly greater incidence of adult obesity (BMI > 30) and greater overall and hip fat mass than the high mindfulness participants. They also found that participants who were not obese in childhood but became obese in adulthood had significantly lower mindfulness scores. Additionally, those who were obese in childhood but not adulthood had significantly higher mindfulness scores. Hence, they found significant associations between mindfulness and the development of high body fat levels and obesity.

 

It should be kept in mind that these results are correlational and causation cannot be ascertained. But, these findings fit with the idea that mindfulness tends to counteract the development of obesity. This may occur by increasing the individuals’ attention to what and how they are eating, sometimes called mindful eating. Indeed, mindfulness training reduces eating behaviors that are associated with obesity, including reward driven and eating for pleasure.

 

So, it is possible that if you be more mindful you will weigh less.

 

“mindfulness training programs can improve obesity-related eating behaviors in adults. Research has also shown that mindfulness training can be successfully implemented in child and adolescent populations with promise for improving stress-related and neurocognitive outcomes.” – Gillian O’Reilly

 

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

Loucks, E. B., Britton, W. B., Howe, C. J., Gutman, R., Gilman, S. E., Brewer, J., … Buka, S. L. (2016). Associations of Dispositional Mindfulness with Obesity and Central Adiposity: the New England Family Study. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 23(2), 224–233. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12529-015-9513-z

 

Abstract

Purpose

To evaluate whether dispositional mindfulness (defined as the ability to attend nonjudgmentally to one’s own physical and mental processes) is associated with obesity and central adiposity.

Methods

Study participants (n=394) were from the New England Family Study, a prospective birth cohort, with median age 47 years. Dispositional mindfulness was assessed using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). Central adiposity was assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans with primary outcomes android fat mass and android/gynoid ratio. Obesity was defined as body mass index ≥30 kg/m2.

Results

Multivariable-adjusted regression analyses demonstrated that participants with low vs. high MAAS scores were more likely to be obese (prevalence ratio for obesity= 1.34 (95 % confidence limit (CL): 1.02, 1.77)), adjusted for age, gender, race/ethnicity, birth weight, childhood socioeconomic status, and childhood intelligence. Furthermore, participants with low vs. high MAAS level had a 448 (95 % CL 39, 857) g higher android fat mass and a 0.056 (95 % CL 0.003, 0.110) greater android/gynoid fat mass ratio. Prospective analyses demonstrated that participants who were not obese in childhood and became obese in adulthood (n=154) had −0.21 (95 % CL −0.41, −0.01; p=0.04) lower MAAS scores than participants who were not obese in childhood or adulthood (n=203).

Conclusions

Dispositional mindfulness may be inversely associated with obesity and adiposity. Replication studies are needed to adequately establish whether low dispositional mindfulness is a risk factor for obesity and adiposity.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4965799/

Improve Obesity with Yoga

Improve Obesity with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga is a powerful activity that connects mind, body and a sense of self to achieve endless health benefits, including maintaining weight-loss. The philosophy of yoga fosters a healing practice that brings peace and acceptance to the self no matter where you are in your life.” – Laurel Dierking

 

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 is 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. 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 and obesity alone or in combination with other therapies. Yoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of physical and psychological benefits. These include significant loss in weight and body mass index (BMI), resting metabolism, and body fat in obese women with Type 2 diabetes and improve health in the obese. Hence it would seem reasonable to investigate the benefits of yoga therapy on the weight and body composition of the obese.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga Practice for Reducing the Male Obesity and Weight Related Psychological Difficulties-A Randomized Controlled Trial.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198375/

Rshikesan and colleagues recruited overweight and obese (BMI > 25) male participants. They were randomly assigned to either receive Integrated Yoga Therapy or a no-treatment control condition. The yoga therapy instruction was conducted for 90 minutes per day, 5 days per week, for 14 weeks, consisting of lecture, stretching, yoga sun salutations, postures, breathing exercises and meditation This was followed by 3 months of home yoga practice. The participants were measured prior to training, after 14 weeks of training and after the 3-month home practice, for body weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), waist and hip circumference, body shape index, skinfold thickness, % body fat, perceived stress, and acceptance of weight related problems.

 

They found that compared to the no-treatment control condition that showed non-significant improvements, the yoga therapy group had significant decreases in weight, arm circumference, % body fat, Body Mass Index (BMI), and skinfold thickness and a decrease in perceived stress. Hence, Integrated Yoga Therapy produced a significant improvement in the physical and psychological manifestations of obesity.

 

These are encouraging results but the conclusions from the study need to be tempered as the improvements were relatively small, with a 3%, ~ 2 kg, reduction in weight after over a half a year of practice. In addition, the control condition did not include any programmed exercise or dietary activity. So, the results could have been produced by any increase in exercise induced caloric expenditure, or potentially by a placebo, experimenter bias, or attentional effect. Also, it has long been known that upon initiating an exercise program there is a small decrease in weight initially, but no further reductions occur with continued practice. So, it cannot be concluded that the yoga practice would continue to reduce weight and improve body shape. Regardless, the program did improve the physical and psychological manifestations of obesity.

 

So, improve obesity with yoga.

 

“What matters is having other fat people around, supporting each other and improving together. Fat people spend their whole lives trying to fit into a world that neither fits nor accepts them. Having a separate space to explore one’s physical self — and one’s spirituality — with others who have the same goals, is tremendously healing.” – Kay Erdwinn

 

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

Rshikesan, P. B., Subramanya, P., & Nidhi, R. (2016). Yoga Practice for Reducing the Male Obesity and Weight Related Psychological Difficulties-A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research : JCDR, 10(11), OC22–OC28. http://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2016/22720.8940

 

Abstract

Introduction

Obesity is a health disorder and increasing all over the world. It is also a cause for many non-communicable diseases. Yoga practice reduces the stress level which may improve the eating habits and help in weight reduction.

Aim

To assess the final outcome of the effects after 3 months of the 14 weeks yoga training on obesity of adult male in an urban setting.

Materials and Methods

This was a randomized controlled trial with parallel groups (Yoga and Control groups) on male obese. Total 80 subjects with Body Mass Index (BMI) between 25 to 35 kg/cm2 were enrolled and randomized into two equal groups in which 72 subjects (yoga n = 37 and control n=35) completed the trial. Yoga group mean age ± SD was 40.03±8.74 and Control group mean age±SD was 42.20±12.06. A 14 weeks special IAYT (Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy) yoga training was given to the Yoga group and no specific activity was given to Control group. The interim results of this study at 14 weeks were covered in another article which is under process. After the 14 weeks of yoga training the Yoga group was asked to continue the yoga practice for the next 3 months and the Control group was not given any physical activity. The final outcome is covered in this paper.

The assessments were anthropometric parameters of body weight (Wt), BMI (Body Mass Index), MAC (Mid-upper Arm Circumferences of left and right arm), WC (Waist Circumference), HC (Hip Circumference), WHR (Waist Hip Ratio), SKF (Skin Fold Thickness) of biceps, triceps, sub scapular, suprailiac and cumulative skin fold thickness value), Percentage body fat based on SKF and Psychological questionnaires of PSS (Perceived Stress Scale) and AAQW (Acceptance and Action Questionnaire for Weight related difficulty). Assessments were taken after 3 months of yoga training, for both Yoga and Control groups. Within group, between group and correlation analyses were carried out using SPSS 21.

Results

Improvement in anthropometric and psychological parameters such as Wt, Percentage body fat, PSS were observed in the final outcome. Also, some of the improvements such as AAQW score were lost in the final outcome, compared to interim results.

Conclusion

The yoga practice is effective for obesity control for adult male in an urban setting.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198375/

 

Improve Obesity with Yoga

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Improve Obesity with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga has an important role to play in the treatment of Obesity. Yoga techniques affect body, internal organs, endocrine glands, brain, mind and other factors concerning Body – Mind complex. Various Yoga techniques can be practiced effectively to reduce the weight and achieve normal healthy condition of Body and Mind.” – Prafulla Dorle

 

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 is 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. 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 obesity, alter eating behavior and improve health in obesity. This suggests that mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for overeating and obesity alone or in combination with other therapies. Yoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of physical and psychological benefits. These include significant loss in weight and body mass index (BMI), resting metabolism, and body fat in obese women with Type 2 diabetes and improve health in the obese. Hence it would seem reasonable to investigate the benefits of yoga therapy on the weight and body composition of the obese.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy on Male Obesity and Psychological Parameters-A Randomised Controlled Trial.” See:

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1461037563920165/?type=3&theater

or see summary below or view the full text of the study at:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5121695/

Rshikesan & Subramanya recruited overweight and obese males with Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) between 23 to 35 and randomly assigned them to either a treatment as usual control group or a yoga therapy group. The yoga therapy was administered 90 minutes per day, five days per week for 14 weeks and consisted of postures, breathing exercises, relaxation, and meditation. The participants were measured both before and after the treatment for height, weight, circumferences of the upper arm, waist, and hips, skin fold thicknesses, weight related acceptance and action, and perceived stress.

 

They found that in comparison to before treatment, the yoga therapy group had modest but significant reductions in weight, BMI, front skinfold thickness, arm and hip circumferences, perceived stress, and weight related acceptance and action while the control group did not. But, the differences between yoga and control groups were only significantly different for arm circumference and skinfold thickness. The yoga group consistently had better results on the average than the control group. This suggests that the study did not have large enough groups to statistically detect modest differences between groups. In addition, there was not an alternate exercise control condition, e.g. walking exercise. So, it cannot be concluded that yoga specifically and not any form of light exercise produced the benefits.

 

The results are encouraging but not spectacular and suggest that yoga therapy can produce modest improvements in overweight and obese males. Yoga, being a light exercise, can contribute to energy expenditure and improve body composition, shifting weight from fat to muscle mass. Yoga also has a wide variety of other physical and psychological benefits. So, the present study may underestimate the value of yoga practice for overweight and obese individuals.

 

So, improve obesity with yoga.

 

“Yoga is an excellent exercise and spiritual discipline for people of any size. For some fat students, simply being made aware of body mechanics differences and being made welcome in a class are enough to bolster their confidence and allow them to progress.” – Kay Erdwinn

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

Rshikesan, P. B., & Subramanya, P. (2016). Effect of Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy on Male Obesity and Psychological Parameters-A Randomised Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research : JCDR, 10(10), KC01–KC06. http://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2016/21494.8727

 

Abstract

Introduction: Obesity is a growing global epidemic and cause of non-communicable diseases. Yoga is one of the effective ways to reduce stress which is one of the causes of obesity.

Aim: To assess the effect of Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy (IAYT) yoga module on adult male obesity in an urban setting.

Materials and Methods: RCT (Randomized Controlled Trial) was conducted for 14 weeks on obese male subjects with yoga and control groups. Total number of subjects were 72 and they were randomized into two groups (Yoga n=37, Control n=35). The subjects were from an urban setting of Mumbai and were doing yoga for the first time. Special yoga training of IAYT was given to yoga group for one and half hour for 5 days in a week for 14 weeks. The control group continued regular physical activities and no specific physical activity was given. The assessments were anthropometric parameters of weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), MAC (Mid Upper Arm Circumferences) of Left and Right Arm, Waist Circumference (WC), HC (Hip Circumference), WHR (Waist Hip Ratio), SKF(Skin Fold Thickness of Biceps, Triceps, Sub scapular, suprailiac and cumulative), Percentage body fat based on SKF and Psychological Questionnaires of Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and AAQW (Acceptance and Action Questionnaire for Weight Related Difficulty). These were taken before and after intervention for both yoga and control groups. Within and between group analysis & correlation of differences from post to pre readings among the variables, were carried out using SPSS 21.

Results: The anthropometric and psychological parameters were improved in both the groups but changes were significant in yoga group.

Conclusion: Incorporating the IAYT for obese male in urban setting will be effective for obesity treatment and for reducing the obesity related problems.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5121695/

 

Reduce Hedonic Eating with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“But whether or not you are predisposed to hedonic eating because of your genetics, everyone could benefit by becoming more mindful of what they eat, how much they eat, and when they eat.” – Tim Boyer

 

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. Currently more than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or obese and around 35% of the population meets the criteria for obesity. Overweight and obesity result from an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure. At some point in their lives people who are overweight have eaten a surplus of food energy relative to the amount they’re expending. This fact has led to investigations of the drivers of overeating in hope of discovering methods to treat or prevent 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. Hedonic eating, on the other hand, is not tied to nutrient needs but rather to the pleasurable and rewarding qualities of food. This latter form of eating appears to be related to the activity of a neural system that produces pleasure and uses opioids as its neurotransmitter. Hedonic eating releases opioids in the brain eliciting pleasure. Indeed, blocking the ability of this system to produce pleasure with drugs that block this systems activity results in a reduction in hedonic eating.

 

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. It is suspected that mindful eating counters hedonic eating. So, how well mindfulness reduces intake may reflect how well it influences the opioid system in the brain. Hence, opioid blocking responses should predict the effectiveness of mindful eating interventions.

 

In today’s Research News article “Acute responses to opioidergic blockade as a biomarker of hedonic eating among obese women enrolled in a mindfulness-based weight loss intervention trial.” See:

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1343082565715666/?type=3&theater

or see summary below or view the full text of the study at:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4485926/

Mason and colleagues recruited obese women (BMI 30-46) and had them complete questionnaires on nausea, binge eating, food addictions, reward based eating, mindful eating, and emotional eating. They completed these measures after ingesting a placebo pill (no active ingredients) and after a pill containing naltrexone, an opioid blocker. The effectiveness of the blocker was verified by its ability to raise salivary cortisol levels. The participants then received a 5.5-month intervention of either mindfulness training or an active relaxation and cognitive therapy control condition.

 

They found that the greater the pretest reward based eating drive and food addictions and the lower the mindful eating, the greater the response to the opioid blocker naltrexone, suggesting that those who are most susceptible to hedonic eating are the most responsive to blocking the opioid system. Importantly, they also found that the greater the response of highly mindful participants to the opioid blocker the greater, 6-months later, the reduction in food addiction symptoms, binge eating, and reward based eating produced by the mindfulness training.

 

These results suggest that the cortisol response to naltrexone is an indicator of susceptibility to hedonic eating. They further suggest that this responsiveness is predictive of the effectiveness of mindfulness training in reducing hedonic eating. These results may be useful in the future in matching the most effective treatment to the characteristics of the obese individual, with those who are the most responsive to hedonic eating the best candidates for mindful eating treatment. In that way the effectiveness of treatment in reducing intake and body weight and be maximized.

 

So, reduce hedonic eating with mindfulness.

 

“This alternative approach has been dubbed “mindful eating.” Applied to eating, mindfulness includes noticing the colors, smells, flavors, and textures of your food; chewing slowly; getting rid of distractions like TV or reading; and learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food.” – Harvard Health Letter

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

Mason, A. E., Lustig, R. H., Brown, R. R., Acree, M., Bacchetti, P., Moran, P. J., … Epel, E. S. (2015). Acute responses to opioidergic blockade as a biomarker of hedonic eating among obese women enrolled in a mindfulness-based weight loss intervention trial. Appetite, 91, 311–320. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2015.04.062

 

Highlights

  • We examined acute cortisol and nausea responses to naltrexone
  • Naltrexone responses were associated with measures of hedonic eating
  • Naltrexone responses may identify greater opioid-mediated hedonic eating drive
  • A mindfulness vs. standard weight loss program may improve food addiction

Abstract

There are currently no commonly used or easily accessible ‘biomarkers’ of hedonic eating. Physiologic responses to acute opioidergic blockade, indexed by cortisol changes and nausea, may represent indirect functional measures of opioid-mediated hedonic eating drive and predict weight loss following a mindfulness-based intervention for stress eating. In the current study, we tested whether cortisol and nausea responses induced by oral ingestion of an opioidergic antagonist (naltrexone) correlated with weight and self-report measures of hedonic eating and predicted changes in these measures following a mindfulness-based weight loss intervention. Obese women (N=88; age=46.7±13.2 years; BMI=35.8±3.8) elected to complete an optional sub-study prior to a 5.5-month weight loss intervention with or without mindfulness training. On two separate days, participants ingested naltrexone and placebo pills, collected saliva samples, and reported nausea levels. Supporting previous findings, naltrexone-induced cortisol increases were associated with greater hedonic eating (greater food addiction symptoms and reward-driven eating) and less mindful eating. Among participants with larger cortisol increases (+1 SD above mean), mindfulness participants (relative to control participants) reported greater reductions in food addiction symptoms, b=−0.95, SE(b=0.40, 95% CI [−1.74, −0.15], p=.021. Naltrexone-induced nausea was marginally associated with reward-based eating. Among participants who endorsed naltrexone-induced nausea (n=38), mindfulness participants (relative to control participants) reported greater reductions in food addiction symptoms, b=−1.00, 95% CI [−1.85, −0.77], p=.024, and trended toward reduced reward-based eating, binge eating, and weight, post-intervention. Single assessments of naltrexone-induced cortisol increases and nausea responses may be useful time- and cost-effective biological markers to identify obese individuals with greater opioid-mediated hedonic eating drive who may benefit from weight loss interventions with adjuvant mindfulness training that targets hedonic eating.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4485926/

 

Improve Health with Yoga for the Obese

By John M. de Castro

 

“Countless times I’ve been told that someone would do yoga, but only after they’ve lost weight. Unfortunately, this eliminates yoga as a tool for reclaiming their health based on their idea that yoga is only for the already thin and flexible. In fact, yoga can be done by everyone — lying in bed, sitting in a wheelchair or standing only for brief moments, the benefits of yoga can still be yours.” – Abby Lentz

 

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 is 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. 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 obesity. This suggests that mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for overeating and obesity. Yoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of physical and psychological benefits. These include significant loss in weight and body mass index (BMI), resting metabolism, and body fat in obese women with Type 2 diabetes. Hence it would seem reasonable to investigate the benefits of particular aspects of yoga practice on the obese.

 

In today’s Research News article “Comparison of Stretching and Resistance Training on Glycemia, Total and Regional Body Composition, and Aerobic Fitness in Overweight Women”

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1201271889896735/?type=3&theater

or below, or for the full text:

http://journals.humankinetics.com/AcuCustom/Sitename/Documents/DocumentItem/Arciero_jpah.2015-0493-in%20press.pdf

Ruby and colleagues test yoga stretching for its effectiveness in treating obesity in women. They randomly assigned otherwise healthy overweight women to three groups, 10-week, 3-day per week, yoga stretching, 10-week, 3-day per week, resistance exercise, or diet only. “All participants consumed a protein-pacing, balanced diet (50% CHO, 25% PRO, 25% FAT) designed to meet 100% of their estimated energy needs throughout the intervention.”

 

They found that all three groups had improvements in waist circumference and total blood cholesterol levels. Both the yoga and resistance exercise groups also showed a significant improvement in aerobic fitness and also total and abdominal fat. The yoga group alone showed a reduction in their weight and body mass index and improvement in blood glucose levels. These effects are important as cholesterol levels are associated with cardiovascular disease and glucose levels with diabetes. Diet alone was helpful, but adding exercise produced further physical improvements in the women, and with yoga as the exercise the effects extended to weight, body mass, and blood glucose.

 

Yoga exercise is safe as there are very few reports of adverse consequences of engaging in supervised practice. In addition, yoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of physical and psychological benefits beyond its effects on the overweight and obese. This suggests that yoga may be an excellent exercise program for the treatment of overweight and obesity.

 

So, improve health with yoga for the obese.

 

“A healthy body can be a home to calm and receptive mind. It not only makes you look good but also adds confidence. It also takes you away from health risks so that you can enjoy life more freely. Yoga helps you gain all this by losing what harms your body. It’s a perfect win-win situation where you lose weight and gain back control of your body. So, roll out your yoga mat and take the natural route to fighting obesity today.”  – The Art of Living

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

 

Study Summary

Ruby M, Repka CP, Arciero PJ. Comparison of Stretching and Resistance Training on Glycemia, Total and Regional Body Composition, and Aerobic Fitness in Overweight Women. J Phys Act Health. 2016 Feb 19. [Epub ahead of print] DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/jpah.2015-0493

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Yoga/Stretching (S) and functional resistance (R) training are popular exercise routines. A protein-pacing (P) diet is a common dietary regimen. Thus, we assessed the effectiveness of a P diet alone and in combination with either S or R to improve body composition and cardiometabolic health.

METHODS: Twenty seven overweight women (age= 43.2± 4.6 years) were randomized into three groups: yoga (S, n=8) or resistance (R, n=10) training (3 days/week) in conjunction with P diet (50% carbohydrate, 25% protein, and 25% fat) or P diet-only (P, n=9) throughout 12-week study. P maintained pre-existing levels of physical activity. Body weight (BW), total (BF) and abdominal (ABF) body fat, waist circumference (WC), plasma biomarkers, and aerobic fitness (VO2) were measured at baseline and 12 weeks.

RESULTS: WC and total cholesterol improved in all groups, whereas glycemia tended to improve (P=0.06) in S. BF, ABF, and VO2 increased significantly in S and R (P<0.05). Feelings of vigor increased in S and tension decreased in R (P<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: S training tended to decrease blood glucose compared to R and P and is equally effective at enhancing body composition, and aerobic fitness in overweight women providing a strong rationale for further research on S training.

 

Reduce Reward-Driven Eating with Mindfulness

Mindfulness eating reward2 Mason

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindless eating is looking at environmental cues and triggers around eating. Mindful eating is about awareness of internal and external cues that trigger eating.” – Megrette Fletcher

 

Obesity is epidemic in the industrialized world. In the United States 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. Although the incidence rates have appeared to stabilize, the fact that over a third of the population is considered obese is very troubling.

 

It is particularly troubling because of the effects of obesity on health. Being obese has been found to shorten life expectancy by eight years and in extreme cases by 14 years. This results from the fact that obesity is associated with cardiovascular problems such as coronary heart disease and hypertension, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and other diseases. Unfortunately, the epidemic of obesity has been resistant to prevention and treatment. Despite copious research and a myriad of dietary and exercise programs, there still is no safe and effective treatment. Hence, there is a need to explore alternative methods to prevent or treat obesity.

 

Mindfulness is known to be associated with lower risk for obesity. This is promising but much more research is needed to understand the mechanism by which mindfulness affects obesity in order to optimize its effectiveness. In today’s Research News article “Reduced Reward-driven Eating Accounts for the Impact of a Mindfulness-Based Diet and Exercise Intervention on Weight Loss: Data from the SHINE Randomized Controlled Trial”

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1187349811288943/?type=3&theater

Mason and colleagues randomly assigned male and female obese participants to either of two interventions; mindfulness or control. Both contained 12 weekly 2.5-hour diet and exercise weight loss programs conducted in a group format. The mindfulness group included additional training in mindful eating, stress reduction, and emotion regulation while the control group included additional training in nutrition and physical activity. They measured reward-based eating, perceived stress, and weight loss at the end of the intervention and 6 and 12 months later.

 

They found that both groups lost weight over the intervention and maintained that weight loss a year later. There was a trend toward greater weight loss in the mindfulness group. Significantly, the mindfulness group demonstrated significantly greater reductions in reward-driven eating which were associated with great weight loss. There were no significant changes in perceived stress. These results suggest that mindfulness training may supplement diet and exercise in weight loss programs by improving the individual’s ability to refrain from reward-driven eating.

 

Reward-driven eating is characterized by a lack of control over eating, a preoccupation with food, and a lack of satiety. Craving is a key driver of this kind of behavior producing a drive to overeat highly palatable food for reward. This is a major obstacle to weight loss. Mindfulness training may improve the individual’s awareness of and attention to their internal state, thereby reducing responses to outside stimuli. Hence, mindfulness training may be effective for weight loss by reducing this obstacle of reward-driven eating, producing more normal eating in response to physiological cues of hunger and satiety.

 

It is interesting that mindfulness training did not reduce perceived stress as mindfulness has been repeatedly shown to reduce perceived stress. This may indicate that the stress of engaging in a diet and exercise program for weight reduction is immune to mindfulness intervention.

 

A strength of this study is that the control condition was so carefully crafted to be very similar to the mindfulness condition in all ways except for the mindfulness training itself. This is an unusually good control condition which accounts for the majority of potential confounding variables that could contaminate the results. As a result, it can be concluded with reasonable certainty that mindfulness training when added to a diet and exercise weight reduction program improves the outcome by reducing reward-driven eating.

 

So, reduce reward-driven eating with mindfulness.

 

“mindful eating does not have to be an exercise in super-human concentration, but rather a simple commitment to appreciating, respecting and, above all, enjoying the food you eat every day. It can be practiced with salad or ice cream, donuts or tofu, and you can introduce it at home, at work, or even as you snack on the go (though you may find yourself doing this less often).” – Jenni Grover

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

Eat Mindfully for Obesity

 

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. Although the incidence rates have appeared to stabilize, the fact that over a third of the population is considered obese is very troubling.

It is troubling 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 is 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 obesity (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/07/17/eat-mindfully-and-have-a-healthier-weight/). This suggests that mindfulness training may be an effective treatment for overeating and obesity. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based Interventions for Obesity-Related Eating Behaviors: A Literature Review”

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1077863002237625/?type=1&theater

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4046117/

O’Reilly and colleagues reviewed the published research on mindfulness interventions for obesity related eating behaviors. They concluded that the research demonstrates that mindfulness based interventions are effective for reducing the incidence of some obesity related behaviors that lead to overeating; binge eating, emotional eating, and external eating.

Binge eating disorder involves regularly eating far more food than most people would in a similar time period under similar circumstances and feeling that eating is out of control. It’s the most common eating disorder and is estimated to affect 2.8 million U.S. adults of which 70% are obese. The reviewed research indicates that mindfulness based interventions had large, clinically significant effects.

Emotional eating involves the consumption of food in response to emotions and external eating involves eating in response to the stimuli that are associated with food such as the sight, smell, and taste of food. Both of these eating patterns are associated with overweight and both are effectively reduced with mindfulness based interventions.

One way that mindfulness appears to have its effects on eating results from mindfulness improving emotion regulation. It has been well demonstrated that mindfulness improves the individual’s ability to regulate their emotions, reducing their intensity and responding more effectively and appropriately to them. So, the individual feels the emotion mindfully and then responds not by eating but by responding in a way more appropriate to the actual emotion.

Mindfulness also appears to affect eating by making the individual more sensitive to their internal state of hunger and satiety. By improving present moment awareness, mindfulness helps the individual be more in touch with the sensations from their body. This makes them more sensitive to their state of hunger and satiety, responding to these appropriate stimuli for eating and stopping eating. This then reduces mindless eating to emotions and food cues.

These findings are important and suggest that mindfulness based interventions may be useful in the treatment and prevention of obesity.

So, be mindful and control your eating.

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

Control Weight in Diabetes with Yoga

 

The medical literature tells us that the most effective ways to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many more problems are through healthy diet and exercise. Our bodies have evolved to move, yet we now use the energy in oil instead of muscles to do our work.” – David Suzuki

Type 2 diabetes is a common and increasingly prevalent illness that is largely preventable. Although this has been known as adult-onset diabetes it is increasingly being diagnosed in children. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States have diabetes and the numbers are growing. One of the reasons for the increasing incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is its association with overweight and obesity which is becoming epidemic in the industrialized world.

Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, diabetes is heavily associated with other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and circulatory problems leading to amputations. As a result, diabetes doubles the risk of death of any cause compared to individuals of the same age without diabetes.

A leading cause of Type II Diabetes is overweight and obesity and a sedentary life style. Hence, treatment and prevention of Type II Diabetes focuses on diet, exercise, and weight control. Yoga would appear to be an excellent potential treatment for Type II Diabetes as it is both an exercise and a help in weight control (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/07/17/heart-healthy-yoga/).

In today’s Research News article “Yoga: Managing overweight in mid-life T2DM”

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1075845609106031/?type=1&theater

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4481745/

Tikhe and colleagues tested the effects of a 7-day integrated approach of yoga therapy (IAYT) on patients with Type II Diabetes. They found that the program resulted in a significant loss in weight and body mass index (BMI), resting metabolism, and body fat.

Yoga appears to be a potential safe and effective treatment for Type II Diebetes. In addition yoga is known to strengthen the immune system (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/2015/07/17/healthy-balance-through-yoga/) making the individual less susceptible to infection, helping to ward of potential secondary consequences of diabetes. These are exciting results that need to be confirmed in a large controlled trial. Many treatments for disease are not well tolerated by the patient and compliance becomes a huge issue. But, yoga is generally enjoyed and compliance rates, when administered properly, can be very high. So, yoga would appear to have advantages over other treatments.

So, practice yoga and control weight.

Diabetes is a great example whereby, giving the patient the tools, you can manage yourself very well.Clayton Christensen

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

Stop Emotional Eating with Yoga

 

Eating can occur because of a physiological need, signaling hunger. That is healthy eating. But eating can also happen for emotional reasons which can produce mindless unhealthy eating or an eating disorder, such as binge eating disorder.

Many people respond to stress, anxiety, or fear with coping strategies, one of which is eating. This is emotional eating. It results from distress and the individual’s attempts to deal with it. The eating behavior is used to reduce the distress. But, this is an unhealthy strategy. It’s not only directly detrimental to health by producing overeating but the emotional eating itself can become a source of stress and anxiety creating a vicious cycle. There is thus a need to find ways to teach the individual to respond to the distress with more adaptive strategies or to increase the individuals’ tolerance for the stress so they do not employ coping strategies like eating.

In today’s Research News article “The Effects of a Hatha Yoga Intervention on Facets of Distress Tolerance”

https://www.facebook.com/ContemplativeStudiesCenter/photos/a.628903887133541.1073741828.627681673922429/1060065660684026/?type=1&theater

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/276064952_The_Effects_of_a_Hatha_Yoga_Intervention_on_Facets_of_Distress_Tolerance

Medina and colleagues investigated whether Hatha Yoga could be successfully employed to reduce emotional eating. They found that and 8-week, twice weekly, yoga practice reduced emotional eating at a clinically significant level.

Medina and colleagues went further looking at the individuals’ tolerance for distress and found that the yoga practice also markedly improved the levels of distress tolerance. In addition, they found that the yoga practice appeared to have its effect on emotional eating by increasing distress tolerance. With the individual better able to deal effectively with the distress the need for the coping strategy, eating, was removed. Hence, yoga practice appeared to attack the root of the problem.

Looking more carefully, it was discovered that it was the cognitive components of distress tolerance that were improved by yoga. These included a facilitation of the thought processes needed to deal with distress and a decrease in the interference with attentional processes produced by the distress. Interestingly, the yoga did not affect the emotional and behavioral components in dealing with distress. So, it appears that yoga produces clearer thinking and thereby better, healthier, responses to the distress.

This makes sense as yoga practice trains the individual to pay attention in the present moment to exactly what they’re doing and how their feeling. It puts their behavior under conscious thoughtful control. The improved attentional and behavioral control produced by yoga could be responsible for clearer thinking about the distress and more appropriate responses to it.

This is an exciting and potentially important finding. There are other coping strategies other than emotional eating that other individuals display in response to distress. It would be important to look at these other strategies in future research to see if they too are improved with yoga.

So, practice yoga and get control of emotional eating

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies