- Mindfulness meditation helps people become aware of their body’s signals
- Obesity expert Dr Ian Campbell says it may be the key to weight loss
- Dutch study found naturally mindful people’s weight fluctuates less
- Experts: They are better able to recognise when they are hungry or full
Forget endless salads and early-morning gym sessions, the key to losing weight could be all in the mind.
Scientists claim that mindfulness, a meditation-like technique that is becoming increasingly trendy, can help us tune into our body’s hunger signals.
This will mean we only eat when we need to – and so stop the pounds from piling on.
While the idea may seem wacky, mindfulness has been credited with a host of health benefits from easing depression to boosting the immune system and lowering blood pressure.
And a leading British obesity expert has said it may be the ‘missing link’ in the search for an effective weight loss technique.
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Mindfulness, a meditation-like technique which teaches people to become more aware of their body’s signals, may be the‘missing link’ in the search for an effective weight loss technique, an obesity expert claims
Dutch researchers carried out a series of studies to see if mindfulness, which involves blocking out distractions, focusing in the present and listening to your body, stops people from eating mindlessly.
In some of these, volunteers were quizzed to find out if they were naturally high in mindfulness.
Questions included whether they were normally aware if their breathing rate changed and how good they were at finding words to describe their feelings.
The volunteers were then given milkshakes to drink and then watched as they snacked on chocolates later.
Importantly, some of the shakes contained cream and so should have made the volunteers feel much fuller and led to them eating fewer chocolates.
This was the case for the volunteers judged as being high on mindfulness.
However, those less able to listen to their body dug into the chocolates, no matter how creamy and calorific the shake.
Another experiment suggested that listening to a mindfulness tape for a few minutes made it easier for people to realise if they were hungry.
Finally, the team from Wageningen University analysed data on more than 400 people who had undergone regular weigh-ins over two and a half years.
A Dutch study found people who are ‘naturally mindful’ are better able to recognise when they are hungry – meaning their weight fluctuates less than people who are less aware of their body’s signals
Like the first group of men and women, they were also asked questions to determine how naturally mindful they were.
Weight fluctuated less in the more mindful sorts, the Journal of Consumer Research reports.
The researchers believe that by listening to the body and blocking out distractions, we become more aware of whether we really are hungry or whether we simply want to eat out of habit.
Ian Campbell, a Nottingham GP and weight loss expert, said eating mindfully makes dieters aware of what and how much they eat, while regular meditation boosts self-esteem and self-control.
This gives people more will power to limit calorie intake and change their eating habits for good.
Dr Campbell also who runs a private weight loss clinic, where he advises patients to follow he practice.
He said: ‘Just telling people to eat less and exercise more doesn’t tend to work, we have incorporated mindfulness into our weight loss programme and the results have been fantastic.
‘It addresses emotions and relationships with food and tackles the fact that so much of what we do is out of habit.’
He added that mindfulness could provide the ‘missing link’ between the biology and psychology of weight loss.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3491943/Could-losing-weight-mind-Meditation-helps-pounds-stopping-eating-habit.html#ixzz4375X2DQt
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