Hallelujah! New study finds you can ‘think yourself thin’

Mindfulness could be an effective tool for those trying to lose weight, according to a new study. Source: Pexels

Pass us the chips and whack on the meditation music because according to a new study you can now think yourself thin.

Researchers at the University of Warwick say mindfulness could be an effective tool in the fight against obesity and could also help anyone wanting to shed a few kilos from their waistline.

The research team published their findings in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism after analysing the behaviours of 53 people participating in a weight loss program in the UK.

All participants in the study completed a multidisciplinary tier three weight management program at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, but to test their theory researchers had 33 people from the group complete a mindfulness course at the same time.

Mindfulness is a mind-body practice where people learn to achieve heightened awareness of their current state of mind and immediate environment in the present moment. It has been practiced for thousands of years. 

Those in the mindfulness group learned about the difference between mindful and mindless eating and were introduced to the idea of Compassionate Mind Therapy, which highlights the need to be aware of self-criticism as well as the importance of self confidence in achieving behaviour change.

At the end of the study, researchers found those who’d completed the mindfulness course lost 2.85 kilograms (nearly 6.3 pounds) more, on average, than a control group of 20 individuals in the tier three obesity management program who did not participate in the course.

Lead author Dr Petra Hanson said the research is significant because it shows that problematic eating behaviours can be improved with mindfulness training.

“Surveys of the participants indicate mindfulness training can help this population improve their relationship with food,” she said.

“Individuals who completed the course said they were better able to plan meals in advance and felt more confident in self-management of weight loss moving forward. Similar courses can be held in a primary care setting or even developed into digital tools. We hope this approach can be scaled up to reach a wider population.”

The findings could help health experts develop weight loss plans for individuals around the world, and could significantly help in the fight against obesity.

Obesity worldwide has nearly tripled since 1975, according to the World Health Organization. As of 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults worldwide met the criteria for overweight or obesity.

Mindfulness has seen a surge in popularity in recent years as people try to find ways to be more present in an ever-changing world that thrives on technology, materialism and business.

Previous studies have shown that mindfulness can help ease depression and anxiety and can also benefit people living with chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sounds pretty good to us! 

Do you practice mindfulness? Would you try it to help with weight management?

Important information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and information purposes only. It does not take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. It is not personalised health advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any decisions about your health or changes to medication, diet and exercise routines you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from a medical professional.

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