Posted on Tue, 16 Jan 18
Mindfulness-based strategies are effective for weight loss and may be more effective than traditional diet and exercise based approaches in the long-term.
Mindfulness programs such as mindfulness-based stress reduction or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can be used to influence appetite and behaviour by improving awareness of environmental triggers, body experiences and emotional distress. Mindfulness can also be used to specifically improve the long-term compliance of lifestyle changes necessary for weight loss.
The potential for mindfulness-based strategies to improve weight loss has resulted in considerable research. To capture the state of the science, a systematic review and meta-analysis of 19 studies pooled the combined data and found that mindfulness-based strategies are effective for weight loss overall, although when compared to diet and exercise programs they were slightly less effective (with 3.3% vs. 4.7% loss of initial body weight, respectively).
However, mindfulness-based strategies appeared to be more effective at follow-up, with continued weight loss (an additional 0.2% of initial body weight) whereas participants in diet and exercise programs slightly gained weight (an increase of 0.4% of initial body weight).
Remarking on their findings, the study authors noted that “our results showed that mindfulness based interventions are moderately to largely effective in reducing weight loss and improving obesity-related eating behaviours. Although average weight loss was modest at post-treatment (3.3% of initial body weight), continued decreases in weight at follow-up (3.5%) is encouraging and highlights the potential of using mindfulness training to support weight loss and its maintenance.”
“We recommend that further research investigate how integrating mindfulness training into lifestyle change programs can improve weight loss and produce better long-term results,” they concluded.
- Carrière K, Khoury B, Günak MM, Knäuper B. Mindfulness-based interventions for weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2018 Feb;19(2):164-177.