New research examines whether mindfulness can help tackle obesity

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Researchers have developed a suite of new tools to study how mindfulness can help tackle the rise in obesity across the UK.

A team of psychologists at Birmingham City University is conducting new research to investigate how mindfulness interventions can contribute to healthy eating and improve counseling, treatment and access to services.

Dr. Michael Mantzios and Dr. Helen Egan, a reader in psychology at Birmingham City University, have developed a suite of new tools designed to enable healthier eating, including the Mindful Constructal Diary and Mindful Chocolate Practice.

The Construal Diary is designed to be used while eating and promotes mindful eating habits. Previous research has shown it to be effective at moderating calorie intake as an alternative practice to typical meditation-based interventions.

The Mindful Chocolate Practice uses traditional contemplative practices to stimulate reflection on the experience of eating and the sensations encountered during the process.

The results showed that people ate less chocolate both immediately after the mindfulness exercise and during a forced wait at the end of the experiment.

Members of the public are invited to access tools and complete a survey to contribute to research.

Dr. Michael Mantzios, Reader in Psychology at Birmingham City University, said, “The research aims to encourage a natural return to the habitual tendency to eat when our bodies need food, that is, to respond to and create physiological signals of hunger A mindful and enjoyable experience with every meal and snack we consume.

“In this way, we enable people to regulate the amount and quality of the food they consume and overcome typical pitfalls that lead to obesity, such as emotional or environmental (over) eating.”

According to Health Express, around 62% of the UK population is classified as overweight and 25% obese, which can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions such as type 2 diabetes and stroke, as well as deterioration in quality of life and depression.

The NHS spends £ 5.1 billion annually on treating obesity and related diseases. Therefore, combating behaviors that lead to overeating is a high priority for the health care sector and government.

Mindfulness Training for Weight Loss Provided by Birmingham City University

Quote: New Research Explores Whether Mindfulness Can Help Fight Obesity (2020, Oct 7). Retrieved October 7, 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-10-mindfulness-tackle-obesity.html

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