Losing weight starts in the head: Mental training increases weight loss

Fight overweight with mindfulness training

Problematic eating behavior can be improved by targeted training of mindfulness. Participants who were made aware of self-criticism, self-confidence and mindful eating in a course lost an average of three kilos more than people who did not attend the course. This emerges from a recent English study.

As part of a nutritional study, researchers from the University of Warwick showed that mindfulness courses are suitable for improving the success of a diet. In four courses, the subjects' awareness of their current state of mind and their immediate surroundings at the present moment was trained. Subsequently, these study participants achieved better results on a diet than a comparison group that had not received such training. The study results were recently presented in the "Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism".

Obesity has tripled in the past 40 years

As reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the rate of obesity and overweight has almost tripled since 1975. As a result, almost two billion people worldwide were overweight or obese in 2016, according to the WHO. With a global population of around 7.6 billion people, more than every fourth person is affected. Researchers are currently desperately looking for new methods to curb this development.

Two hospitals already offer the courses

Mindfulness training is currently being used at Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust University Hospitals in Englang and the effectiveness of the courses is being assessed. The team around head of studies Dr. In this way, Petra Hanson was able to improve the effectiveness of intensive weight loss programs. "This research is important because we have shown that problematic eating behavior can be improved with mindfulness," reports Hanson in a press release on the study results.

New prevention and treatment of obesity

According to the researchers, these mindfulness techniques can also be used in larger population groups. Therefore, the strategy could be a useful tool to promote healthy eating and possibly other lifestyle habits in the context of general obesity prevention and treatment.

Course of the study

The mindfulness courses were offered as part of a multidisciplinary weight loss program. The researchers monitored the progress of the participants and found that those who attended at least three of the four courses lost around three kilos more during the weight reduction program than those who did not attend any courses.

Mindfulness for everyone?

The success in losing weight was also reflected in the positive evaluations of the course participants. "People who completed the course said they could better plan meals in advance and felt more confident about losing weight," said Hanson. The research team suggests that such courses should also be established in primary care or offered in digital form.

Can mindfulness lead to healthier living habits?

"Mindfulness has enormous potential as a strategy for achieving and maintaining health and well-being," adds Professor Dr. Thomas Barber from the University of Warwick. Many emerging diseases of the 21st century are due to an unhealthy lifestyle. The professor believes mindfulness training is a good way to help the population make healthier lifestyle choices and enforce healing behavior changes. (vb)

Author and source information

Video: 9 Strategies to Stop Overeating (January 2022).