Mindful Eating and Weight Loss Research

Welcome to our most recent research update about mindful eating and weight loss.

The research shows that mindful eating is as effective as other diet programs, and offers an alternative approach to dieting to lose weight..

The research paper

The paper reviewed is “Mindful eating and common diet programs lower body weight similarly: Systematic Review and meta-analysis.” Obesity Reviews 2019: 20.1619-1627

Just to clarify some technical terms, starting with systematic review and meta-analysis. 

A systematic review is a process of finding all published research. This avoids bias or cherry-picking of research papers that only show the results that you are looking for!

A meta-analysis, pools all of the results obtained from the selected research studies, and reports on the endpoints of the study e.g. weight loss, blood pressure or change in binge eating habits.

For this particular meta-analysis, the researchers only wanted studies that were randomised control trials and had a primary endpoint of weight loss.

A randomised control trial is considered a higher or more trustworthy type of research as it aims to limit bias by randomly assigning participants to mindful eating or a control group.

In research studies, a control group allows you to compare results of no support or a different type of support, so in this particular research study, the control group was compared to mindful eating.

Mindful eating versus dietary advice

The researchers involved in this paper were interested in mindful eating and weight loss due to the increased rate of overweight and obesity, and the risk of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and some cancers.

They reported that approaches that rely on 

    • limiting energy intake and certain processed foods,
    • regular physical activity,
    • behaviour modification and 
    • drug therapy 

have been ineffective in producing long-term and sustainable weight loss.

The researcher also acknowledged that mindful eating is gaining more recognition as an alternative to dieting.

“Mindful eating is observing the immediate experience of eating, without judgement, as well as tuning into hunger and satiety.”

The results of mindful eating and weight loss

The 10 research studies included in the meta-analysis were focussed on the endpoints:

  1. Body weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference.
  2. Blood pressure, HDL, LDL and total cholesterol, triglycerides and blood glucose.

Whilst other research studies may have reported weight loss, if it wasn’t a primary focus of the research then these studies were not included.

After pooling the results from the 10 studies, the researchers concluded:

“Not only is mindful eating a practical option for weight loss. It is an equivalent alternative to dieting approaches based on reducing calories and meal plans.”

Mindful eating helps to overcome:

    • Overeating  related to emotional eating and stress
    • Lack of attention to hunger and satiety signals

It also offers an alternative for people who struggle sticking to restrictive diets.

Transforming research results into everyday life

The researchers noted that the studies of mindful eating and weight loss varied in length from 1.5 to 12 months; with the average being 5 months.

Ideally, studies would be conducted for a longer period of time to see if mindful eating supports sustained results.

Unfortunately, study length is often related to funding limits.

Whilst creating the Eating for You programs, which are based on the practice of mindful eating, I was aware of the need to provide support for longer periods of time.

For this reason, our 8 week Foundations program is supported by the membership program.

What the research indicates, as well as the results ladies achieve in the Eating for You programs, 
The focus on changing thoughts, beliefs and mindset about food supports long-term changes to eating habits.

The changes to eating habits produce sustained weight loss.

Ladies who have completed the Eating for You programs over 12 months ago report they are able to continue with the mindful eating practice and the weight naturally comes off.

The Eating for You programs are focussed on changing eating habits, not weight loss.

Like to see if the mindful eating approach is right for you, then join me in a free 15-minute Mindful Eating Discovery call.

In the call, we will discuss your biggest barrier to changing your eating habits.

I will provide you with a personalised tip to get you off the eating roller coaster and one step closer to a way of eating that lasts.

2 thoughts on “Mindful Eating and Weight Loss Research

  1. I have found success in my diet programme by replacing the phrase ‘weight loss’ with ‘weight reduction’. I feel that loss has negative connotations with failure, depression or grieving . But to say reduction I feel in control of my being.

    1. Thanks for sharing Gwyneth. I do not usually refer to weight at all 🙂 But I understand that for health reasons many ladies what to have the healthiest weight possible. The Eating for You approach based on mindfulness assists ladies to find their natural healthy weight, so I do not offer weight loss or weight reduction programs. One comment I didn’t make in this blog post, was that mindful eating isn’t about weight loss. The authors of this paper failed to mention this. What the research shows, and the experience of ladies who complete my programs, is that by changing our relationship with food, our body finds its natural healthy weight. We don’t have to focus on weight at all. Thanks again for sharing x

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