Mindfulness, Emotional Eating, and Overweight

Mindfulness training may influence the eating habits and weight management. A recent study investigated the effects of a mindfulness and compassion-based method among 53 overweight or obese women (Palmeira et al., 2017). The study examined the possible influences of the intervention on the quality of life, weight self-stigma, body mass index, as well as the behaviors of emotional eating.

After the intervention, including the 3-month follow-up, higher quality of life was reported with higher levels of mindfulness and self-compassion among the participants (Palmeira et al., 2017). In addition, lower levels of emotional eating or weight-related experiential avoidance were observed. Other changes included lower levels of self-criticism and body mass index.

Among the changes, the lower levels of shame and self-criticism were found to be more associated with the improvements in health-related outcomes (Palmeira et al., 2017). In addition, the elevated levels of mindfulness and self-compassion were related to the weight loss and improved eating behaviors. These changes demonstrate the potential effects of mindfulness training. However, trials based on larger populations are still needed.


Palmeira L, Cunha M, Pinto-Gouveia J. Processes of change in quality of life, weight self-stigma, body mass index and emotional eating after an acceptance-, mindfulness- and compassion-based group intervention (Kg-Free) for women with overweight and obesity. J Health Psychol. 2017 Jan 1:1359105316686668. doi: 10.1177/1359105316686668.

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