Trusting homeostatic cues versus accepting hedonic cues: A randomized control trial comparing two distinct mindfulness-based intervention components


Lindsay M. Martin, Hallie M. Espel-Huynh, Stephanie Marando-Blanck, Brittney C. Evans, Evan Forman, Meghan Butryn, Ruth A. Baer, Ruth Q. Wolever, & James D. Herbert



Mindfulness-informed cognitive behavioral interventions for obesity are promising. However, results on the efficacy of such treatments are inconsistent which in part may be due to their substantially different methods of practice. This study is the first direct comparison of two theoretically distinct mindfulness-based weight loss approaches: increasing awareness of homeostatic/innate physiological cues versus hedonic/externally-driven cues for eating.

Overweight adults were randomized to one of three group-based workshops: Mindful Eating (ME; n = 21), Mindful Decision-Making (MD; n = 17), or active standard behavioral control (SC; n = 19). Outcome measures included percent weight change and reduction in caloric intake from baseline to 6 weeks.

Differences in weight loss and calorie reduction did not differ significantly among groups. However, the difference in weight loss between the MD and ME groups trended towards significance, with medium-large effect sizes.

Results provide modest preliminary evidence for the utility of mindful decision-making strategies over mindful eating for short-term weight loss and calorie reduction.

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