Mindful eating for overweight and obese women in Brazil: An exploratory mixed-methods pilot study

Nutr Health. 2022 Dec;28(4):591-601. doi: 10.1177/02601060211052794. Epub 2021 Dec 16.


Background: Worldwide, approximately 95% of obese people who follow diets for weight loss fail to maintain their weight loss in the long term. To fill this gap, mindfulness-based interventions, with a focus on mindful eating, are promising therapies to address this challenging public health issue. Aim: To verify the effects of the Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-EAT) protocol by exploring quantitative and qualitative data collected from Brazilian women. Methods: A single-group, mixed-methods trial was conducted at a public university with adult women (n = 34). Four MB-EAT groups were offered weekly for 2.5-h sessions over 12 weeks. Pre- and post-intervention assessments included body mass index (BMI) and self-report measures of anxiety, depression, mindfulness, self-compassion, and eating behaviour. Qualitative information was collected using focus groups in the last session of each group, including both participants and MB-EAT instructors. The qualitative data were examined using thematic analyses and empirical categories. Results: Twenty participants (58.8%) completed both pre- and post-intervention assessments, with adequate attendance (≥4 sessions). There was a significant average decrease in weight of 1.9 ± 0.6 kg from pre- to post-intervention. All participants who had scored at the risk level for eating disorders on the EAT-26 decreased their score below this risk level. Qualitative analysis identified that participants were able to engage a more compassionate perspective on themselves, as well as greater self-awareness and self-acceptance. Conclusion: The MB-EAT showed preliminary efficacy in promoting weight loss and improvements in mindfulness and eating behaviour. This intervention promoted effects beyond those expected, extending to other life contexts.

Keywords: Obesity; mindful eating; mindfulness; mixed methods; women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brazil
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mindfulness* / methods
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Overweight* / therapy
  • Pilot Projects
  • Weight Loss