Can Buddhist practice control your weight?
If you’re trying to lose weight or keep your weight down, pay sole attention to your food whilst you are eating according to a new US study.
US researchers recently presented their study findings to the European Congress on Obesity in Portugal. The study, which involved 80 people on the Eat Smart, Move More, Weight Less online weight management programme, 28 of which completed the programme, showed that over 15 weeks, an average loss of almost 2 kg was achieved by using mindful eating techniques .
The Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less programme uses the concept of planned behaviour to help those looking to lose weight to change the way they do things in order to help them maintain or lose weight. Rather than simply focussing on what we should eat, it also focuses on how we should eat.
The programme looks at how we interact with our food, and teaches us to pay attention to all aspects of eating such as how does the food taste, keeping an open ‘ear’ for cues such as hunger and fullness and actively planning on when we’re going to eat.
The concept of mindful eating comes from the Buddhist meditation technique of mindfulness. Studies have shown that we can control our thinking and block peripheral “noise” during the practice of mindfulness, which not only helps us be aware of what we’re eating and whether we really need to eat, but also has shown that it may help us control stress [2, 3].
Bringing the practice of mindfulness into our lives on a daily basis could have far-reaching positive consequences. Some studies have shown that mindfulness techniques could also help some of us control and manage pain associated with chronic migraine , osteoarthritis , and back pain .
However, research into all of these aspects, including weight management, is very new and a lot more studies are required before it could be successfully concluded whether mindfulness has any affect at all. The preliminary results are very promising, and it is a safe practice and technique that is worth investigating!
Seb is a writer and blogger of food and nutrition. He holds a bachelors and a masters degree in nutrition science, and has studied sports and exercise nutrition at postgraduate level. He specialises in plant-based nutrition and believes passionately that we can all live with a little less meat.