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Exploring the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention

Testing the effectiveness of the Mindful Construal Diary (MCD; a novel mindfulness-based intervention) on weight loss and eating behaviours over a three-month period.

Mindfulness-based intervention

Researchers

Research background

This research was supported by the NHS Heart of England Foundation Trust’s specialist weight management service.

After scoping the literature, it was evident that there was a lack of research exploring mindfulness-based weight loss interventions which were non-meditative and self-directed. Non-meditative and self-directed interventions may represent significant cost saving to the NHS as they require minimal staff training and face-to-face contact hours. Two studies were conducted which explored the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention in clinically obese and postoperative bariatric surgery patients.

Research aims

The aim of the research studies was to test the effectiveness of the Mindful Construal Diary (MCD; a novel mindfulness-based intervention) on weight loss and eating behaviours over a three-month period. The MCD aims to cultivate awareness and attention to the eating experience, which in turn could assist individuals in regulating and monitoring how they eat.

Clinically obese and bariatric surgery patients may benefit from using the MCD as these groups often experience on-going difficulties in regulating their weight and eating behaviour, which is inevitably costly to the NHS. It was thought that the MCD could serve as a complementary weight loss tool to existing treatments such as psychoeducational group sessions and dietic advice currently provided by the Heart of England Foundation Trust for clinically obese and postoperative bariatric surgery patients.

How was the research carried out?

Two randomised controlled trials were conducted (one with postoperative bariatric surgery patients and one with clinically obese patients), data relating to weight and eating behaviours were collected at baseline and individuals were randomised into either an experimental or control condition. Those allocated to the experimental condition were given the MCD to use for a three-month period and those who were allocated to the control condition were given the MCD at the end of the study. After a three-month period, participants were asked to complete the same questionnaires they did at baseline in order to investigate if any changes in weight and eating behaviours had occurred.

Results

The research found no significant changes in weight loss and eating behaviours after a three-month period. However, exploration into adherence to the MCD showed that participants generally did not engage with the MCD as instructed. Therefore, future research should include more follow up measures during the intervention period in order to encourage engagement, as three-months of self-directed practice may be too long of an interval to expect patients who have experienced on-going issues with their weight to stay motivated to engage with additional weight loss interventions.