A combined mindfulness-prolonged chewing intervention reduces body weight, food craving, and emotional eating

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2019 Jan;87(1):106-111. doi: 10.1037/ccp0000361.


Objective: Conventional weight-loss programs that induce a calorie deficit mostly fail in long-term weight reduction and disadvantageous eating styles often remain unchanged. Mindfulness interventions therefore redirect the focus away from the weight-loss goal and toward the process of eating itself. By eating more mindfully, at a slower pace, and with an enhanced focus on bodily sensations, participants might not only indirectly reduce their daily calorie intake but also eat less craving and stress driven.

Method: This study randomized participants to either intervention (n = 23) or waitlist group (n = 23) to investigate the effectiveness of a 4-session mindfulness and prolonged chewing intervention. Dependent variables were body mass index and food craving as well as emotional, external, and intuitive eating.

Results: Across the 8 weeks of intervention, significant Group × Measurement time interactions pointed to decreases in body mass index and disadvantageous eating styles (food cravings, emotional and external eating) and an increase in intuitive eating in the intervention group. Weight loss in the intervention group was maintained after a 4-week follow up.

Conclusion: A combination of mindfulness and a specific chewing training that increases awareness of satiety strongly impacted energy intake and related eating styles. Such interventions obviate loss-oriented calorie reduction and foster enjoyment and focused tasting of foods. Conventional weight-loss diets might incorporate such brief interventions in more long-term dieting trials. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Webcast

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Awareness
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Craving*
  • Emotions*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mastication*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mindfulness*
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Psychotherapy, Group
  • Weight Loss*

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