Mindfulness training may help check the obesity epidemic

Mindfulness training may improve the effectiveness of intensive weight management programs, according to a small study published Dec. 18, 2018 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Researchers from the University of Warwick and the Warwickshire Institute for the Study of Diabetes Endocrinology and Metabolism at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust found that individuals who participated in mindfulness training (four courses) as part of an intensive weight management program, lost more weight in six months (3 Kg on average) than other program participants who did not attend mindfulness courses. Those who only attended one or two of the four courses lost, on average, 0.9 kg during the same period.

The course included discussions of the difference between mindful and mindless eating as well as an introduction to Compassionate Mind Therapy, which highlights the need to be aware of self-criticism as well as the importance of self confidence in achieving behavior change.

Eating without awareness or eating while simultaneously doing other activities, may portend future lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, hypertension etc.

Mindful eating means being aware of the hunger and satiety signals. It also means using all the five senses while eating: colors (eye), smells (nose), flavors (taste), textures (touch) and sound while chewing (ear) of the food.

This study has corroborated what has been written in our ancient scriptures long ago.

Chapter 6 Shloka 17 of the Bhagwad Gita elucidates on what a balanced life should be like. Herein, Krishna says to Arjuna “Yukaharaviharasya yuktachestasya karmasu. Yuktasvapnavabodhasya yoga bhavati duhkhaha.”

This means “the one, whose diet and movements are balanced, whose actions are proper, whose hours of sleeping and waking up are regular, and who follows the path of meditation, is the destroyer of pain or unhappiness.”

In Chapter 9 Shloka 27, the Bhagwad Gita also explains that while eating, one should concentrate only on eating as the food is served to one’s consciousness. “Yat karohi yad aśhnāsi yaj juhohi dadāsi yat. Yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruhva mad-arpaam”, which means “Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as oblation to the sacred fire, whatever you bestow as a gift, and whatever austerities you perform, O son of Kunti, do them as an offering to Me.”

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