There are many studies that evoke the many benefits of practice mindfulness, this ability to intentionally pay attention to internal (sensations, emotions, thoughts) or external experiences of the present moment, without passing judgment. Recommended to cultivate your well-being on a daily basis, because mindfulness allows you to manage attention, increase productivity and reduce stress, it would also be useful for people who want losing weight. According to a study published in Endocrine Connections, mindfulness-based therapy can help reduce stress, appetite, and weight in children with obesity and anxiety.
The researchers behind this study report that obese children following a low-calorie diet and mindfulness therapy lose more weight and are less stressed and hungry than children who have a low-calorie diet alone. Findings that suggest mindfulness can help obese childrenat lose more weight by following a diet rebalancing which ultimately reduces their risk of serious health problems, such as high blood pressure or a stroke. Indeed, thechildhood obesity increases the risk of a number of damaging medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Stress hormones are reduced
Scientists started from the observation that this condition can also be favored through stress and anxiety. Yet currently, most medical management strategies ignore these psychological factors and focus only on diet and exercise. “Previous studies suggest that many eating disorders associated with obesity, such as binge eating, can be caused by high stress levels that make it more difficult to stick to diets, ”the researchers say. Why then not combine dietary support with mindfulness meditation ?
Children selected for the study completed a self-report questionnaire to measure their anxiety levels, and their body mass index was recorded. A group of 33 children learned mindfulness techniques in guided 2-hour sessions once a week for eight weeks, alongside a typical calorie diet. Another group of 12 children followed a low-calorie diet for just eight weeks. The results showed that the combination therapy resulted in significantly greater reductions in weight, anxiety and levels of two stress-related hormones and appetite, cortisol and ghrelin.
Diets can increase children’s anxiety
In parallel, an increase in anxiety and a smaller reduction in weight were observed in the group of children who only followed a low calorie diet. “Our results suggest that restricted diets may actually increase anxiety in obese children. However, practicing mindfulness can counterbalance this and promote more effective weight loss, ”comments Dr. López-Alarcón who conducted the study. If further research is to be done with other cohorts of children, the researchers believe this proves that mindfulness can help obese children by reducing their appetite and stress hormones.
In fact, the increased levels of anxiety observed in the “diet alone” group suggest, according to them, that current strategies of weightloss applied to children should take into account psychological factors, as well as physical and lifestyle factors, in order to achieve better results. “The negative effect that anxiety can have on weight loss should be taken into account when children are experiencing dietary restriction. Our study supports inclusion of mindfulness as a strategy to reduce anxiety and increase the chances of successful weight loss, ”conclude the researchers, who plan to assess the benefits of this technique in larger groups of children.