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Meditation….To Maintain Your Style


Meditation….To Maintain Your Style

A group of researchers at UC San Francisco have conducted a study indicating that meditation could be a key in helping people to control their dietary habits and help them lose weight. It’s only a small-scale study and needs reproduction, but its findings are consistent with other studies of mindfulness.

 

The researchers took a randomized group of 47 overweight women and divided them into two groups. Both groups received training on the basics of diet and exercise, but no diets were prescribed to either group.
 
The experimental group received training in “mindful eating” and meditation in weekly sessions. In the mindful eating training, the women were trained to experience the moment-by-moment sensory experience of eating . They also meditated for 30 minutes a day.
 
The goal of the experiment was two-fold – to use mindful eating to help control cravings and overeating, and to use meditation as a stress relief to prevent “comfort eating.” The preliminary results showed that they were successful. The women in the control group gained weight, while those in the control group maintained their weight and showed significant reductions in their cortisol levels (high cortisol levels are a side effect of stress).
 
“You’re training the mind to notice, but to not automatically react based on habitual patterns — to not reach for a candy bar in response to feeling anger, for example,” said researcher Jennifer Daubenmier in a press release.  “If you can first recognize what you are feeling before you act, you have a greater chance of making a wiser decision.”
 
Dr. Catherine Kerr, a meditation researcher at Brown University, is also encouraged by the study, she said: “These findings are consistent with numerous brain studies showing that this practice of attending mindfully to present moment experience brings about changes in brain areas responsible for body sensations, especially body sensations related to hunger and craving (in the brain area called the ‘insula’), the idea here being that daily practice actually trains your brain to help you tune in to your body in a more healthy way.”
 
There are caveats to this study – it’s only preliminary, and it had a small test group. Also, the difference in the weight changes reported above only applied to the women in the study who were classified as ‘obese’ by their BMI. Overall, there wasn’t a statistically significant difference between the control group and experimental group when it came to weight.  (The stress levels were different, however.) But given this study’s consistency with other findings, It's thought that a bigger scale study would show that the combination of stress reduction via meditation and craving control via mindful eating should work to maintain weight if practiced consistently.
 

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Edited By: Laila Nour


Source :

University of California - San Francisco






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