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Study says mindful eating may be an effective technique to lose weight

With the holiday season and New Year celebrations drawing to a close, many of us may be struggling with the extra pounds we packed during the time we spent indulging in food and drinks with our friends and family. In case you are worried about losing weight and getting back in shape, a new study shed light on a technique that might come in handy — mindful eating.

Not only can mindful eating improve one’s physical well-being and help in maintaining a healthy weight, according to the new study, but it can also show a marked improvement in one’s mental well-being.

“For example, mindfulness can reduce symptoms of anxiety and enhance cognitive functioning, and it may even improve a person’s immune response

The principle behind mindfulness is very simple. “One has to be fully present in the moment, focusing attention on external stimuli and their effects on the body and mind, learning to concomitantly acknowledge and dismiss unnecessary thoughts. Thus, learning mindfulness techniques can help us tone down the effects of stress and regain more enjoyment in present experiences,” a report in the Medical News Daily stated.

According to the study conducted by the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire National Health Services Trust in the United Kingdom, in collaboration with other clinical and research institutions, mindful eating targets eating disorders and addresses the root of all issues related to extra pounds.

“This research is significant, as we have shown that problematic eating behavior can be improved with mindfulness application,” says the study’s first author, Petra Hanson, a research fellow and doctoral student at the Warwickshire Institute for the Study of Diabetes Endocrinology and Metabolism at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire.

Hanson and the team reported their findings in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, which is an Endocrine Society publication.

The team of researchers worked with 53 individuals who took part in a dedicated weight management program at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire National Health Services Trust.

“Over the next 6 months, the participants who had attended three or four mindfulness sessions lost, on average, 3 kilograms (about 6.6 pounds), while those who had only attended one or two mindfulness sessions lost an average of 0.9 kilograms (around 2 pounds)”, accoring to the report in Medical Daily. The report further stated, “Surveys of the participants indicate [that] mindfulness training can help this population improve their relationship with food”.

“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,” says Hanson.