A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that mindfulness-based eating helps people lose weight. The study found that people in an intensive weight loss program who received training on mindfulness-based eating strategies lost more weight than those who did not receive the training. The mindfulness-based eating program included analysis of the difference between mindful and mindless eating along with a weight loss diet plan.
Obesity is a disease, not a lifestyle choice. Overeating is caused by out of control hunger hormones. Hunger hormones like leptin, ghrelin, cholecystokinin, glucagon-like peptide-1, peptide YY, insulin, cortisol influence our brain’s ability to regulate body weight. Weight-gain and obesity can result from hormonal imbalance leading to chronic and maladaptive eating-related behaviors. These problematic behavioral traits can manifest in several different forms. These include:
- Mindless eating
- Binge eating
- Hedonic overeating in response to tempting foods
- Reactivity to food cravings
- Restricted food intake and dieting with cyclical weight-loss and weight-regain
- Eating unhealthy foods
A common situation is when food is used as a maladaptive coping strategy in response to boredom, stress, depression, or anxiety. Maladaptive eating is usually introduced and engrained during childhood because the pleasurable effects of food serve as a reward and positive reinforcement which can be increased in response to life events.
Maladaptive eating-related behaviors developed during childhood are often used as a pattern for similar eating-related behaviors in adulthood. This research is significant because problematic eating behavior can be improved with mindful eating strategies.
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