Mindfulness increases weight loss, finds new study

A study has found that practising mindfulness could enhance weight loss.

In an obesity-management programme monitored by researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK, course participants who also took part in mindfulness training lost more weight than those who didn’t.

The study was published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, and examined weight loss among 53 people on the multidisciplinary Tier 3 Weight Management Programme at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.

33 of the participants completed at least three or four mindfulness sessions during the weight management course, which included discussions about mindful eating, self-criticism and behaviour change, all focused on improving the participants’ relationship with food.

Those who completed the mindfulness course lost 2.85 kilograms more, on average, than a control group of 20 individuals in the obesity management programme who did not participate in the course.

Dr Thomas Barber, associate professor at the University of Warwick and honorary consultant endocrinologist at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, said:  “Mindfulness has huge potential as a strategy for achieving and maintaining good health and wellbeing.

“With the burgeoning impact of 21st century chronic disease, much of which relates to lifestyle behaviour choices, it is logical that focus should be on enabling the populace to make appropriate lifestyle decisions, and empowering subsequent salutary behaviour change. 
“In the context of obesity and eating-related behaviours, we have demonstrated that mindfulness techniques can do just that. Adoption of mindfulness techniques is scalable to the wider population, and as such this strategy could represent a useful expedient to facilitating healthy eating-related and potentially other lifestyle behaviours, as part of population-wide obesity prevention and management.”  

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust is the first in UK to create a multidisciplinary course for obesity that incorporates mindfulness and to assess its effectiveness. 

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