Mindfulness meditation is a practice that cultivates awareness of the present moment. This form of meditation focuses on awareness of your thoughts and actions in the present, without judgment. Previous studies suggest that mindfulness meditation can reduce stress, anxiety, depression and blood pressure. Now research reports that practicing mindfulness meditation can decrease binging and increase sense of control when eating. Binge eating disorder consists of episodes of compulsive overeating that may be followed by purging, fasting or heavy exercise.
The study, published in the Journal of Health Psychology, investigated the effectiveness of a 6-week mindfulness meditation program on binge eating disorder (BED). Researchers from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, administered standard and eating-related mindfulness meditation exercises to 18 obese women with binge eating disorder. Binge Eating Scale (BES) and Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories (BDAI) responses were obtained from the participants. The participants were assessed at 3 weeks before and after the study, as well as weeks 1, 3 and 6 of the study.
The researchers found that binging episodes decreased in frequency and severity. The participants had an increased sense of eating control. Binge eating episodes were reduced from 4 to 2 per week. Findings also revealed that BES and BDAI scores were significantly decreased. Eating meditation times predicted decreases in BES scores.
The Main Point
“Results suggest that meditation training may be an effective component in treating BED [binge eating disorder],” the study authors conclude.
This study is important because it suggests that mindfulness meditation therapy can be an effective complement to binge eating disorder treatment. Eating-related mindfulness meditation helped participants improve awareness of why they eat which can help treat negative eating patterns.
Are you practicing meditation to help manage eating disorders or chronic stress? Please share with us below.
Kristeller JL. An Exploratory Study of a Meditation-based Intervention for Binge Eating Disorder. Journal of Health Psychology 1999; 4(3): 357-363.. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22021603
Gavalas, Elaine. The Yoga Minibook for Weight Loss. Simon amp; Schuster Fireside. elainegavalas.com www.amazon.com/YOGA-MINIBOOK-WEIGHT-LOSS-ebook/dp/B006JOLMKS