Mindful Eating and Living Brian M. Shelley, MD

Background: Obesity is an epidemic. Pharmacologic treatments are not effective in sustaining weight loss. Bariatric surgery is expensive and associated with risk. Our mindfulness pilot study, presented last year, showed moderate weight loss and improvement in biological markers at 6 and 12 weeks. Design: Randomized controlled trial investigating the effects of a mindfulness-based eating curriculum on anthropometrics in obese postmenopausal women. Goal: To determine if subjects who participate in a mindfulness-based training will achieve and sustain more weight loss than those in an active control group. Intervention: A 6-week Mindful Eating and Living (MEAL) curriculum, with monthly meetings after the first six weekly classes. Content: Relationship to foods, situations, emotions, memories; yoga and walking; eating exercises exploring taste, awareness, hunger, satiety, and “trigger foods.” Active control intervention: A weight loss support group which met for the same time and intervals as the MEAL group. Co-leaders: a physician, nutritionist, psychologist. Content: selfdirected support group check-in, goal setting, question & answer period. Results: Participants in the mindfulness group and the active control group lost a moderate amount of weight at 6 weeks and continued losing weight throughout the study period of 1 year. This weight loss for both groups was approximately 14 lbs on average. There was an average decrease in C-reactive protein (hsCRP) of 0.34 mg/dl at 14 weeks from baseline (p<0.04) in the mindfulness group, which was not seen in the control group. There was an average decrease in waist-hip ratio (WHR) of 0.03 at 14 weeks from baseline (p=0.02) in the mindfulness group, which was not seen in the control group. Conclusions: Participants in both groups lost weight and maintained the loss, comparable to weight loss seen with pharmacologic therapy. Some reduction in risk factors for cardiovascular disease (hsCRP, WHR) was seen at 14 weeks in the MEAL group.