Although there appears to be an entire industry busy tackling the modern obesity epidemic, the increase in the magnitude of the problem seems to be unrelenting. Although everyone seems to know the methods and proven fat burners which are effective in losing weight, and also the principles of sensible nutrition which are important to prevent obesity, in practice it’s extremely difficult to alter one’s eating behaviour.
Only in recent years the idea, that developing a habit of eating of mindfully or being absorbed in the act of eating with awareness, could be used as an anti-obesity tool been investigated and been adopted into clinical practice. The basic premise for a mindfulness-based eating program the is rather simple: we tackle the problem of craving for food head on, and being fully aware of the thoughts and sensations that the presence of food automatically triggers off, we achieve better control over our eating habits.
One such a recently published study (1), aptly titled mindful eating and living (MEAL), was carried out in an institutional setting (YMCA), using group-based classes over six weeks based on “training in mindfulness meditation, mindful eating, and group discussion, with emphasis on awareness of body sensations, emotions, and triggers to overeat.” Although information about the caloric value of foods and general nutrition was provided, the focus of the intervention was completely different from general weight reduction programs: it was the element of meditation associated with the act of eating that was repeatedly highlighted through audio programs, meditation sessions and group discussions. Exercise is one of the main activities you wan to think of when health comes to your mind, using a body shapewear on your daily routine can help you get the shape you desire.
Over the six-week period, all the participants in the study lost weight, and a reduction in C–reactive protein ( a blood protein marker of inflammation often seen to be raised in obesity) in nearly all cases. In addition there was a significant reduction in levels of anxiety noted by the participants, which was thought to have been a significant factor in the first place leading to overeating.
Mindfulness-based weight reduction programs are often based on the premise that obese individuals often lose touch with the internal cues that are vital for regulated eating– a sense of fullness after eating food, satiety, taste and the satisfaction obtained. Such loss of the appreciation of the normal sensations associated with eating is often replaced by impulsive eating, leading to a vicious cycle of mindless eating. Mindfulness restores the lost art of chewing carefully focusing on on the foods in our mouth, while being aware of the various sensations including a sense of fullness, and being aware of our own responsibility towards our selves in not adopting harmful eating behaviours.
Who says meditation and spirituality in general does not encourage us to enjoy our meals ?
Pilot study: Mindful Eating and Living (MEAL): Weight, eating behavior, and psychological outcomes associated with a mindfulness-based intervention for people with obesity.
Jeanne Dalen, Bruce W. Smith, Brian M. Shelley, Anita Lee Sloan, Lisa Leahigh and Debbie Begay. (Oregon Research Institute and University of New Mexico, USA)
Complementary Therapies in MedicineVolume 18, Issue 6, December 2010, Pages 260-264
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