Abstract ID: 3595

Primary Topic: Mind-body (including meditation and yoga)
Secondary Topic: Basic Science

Impact of mind body programs on dietary behaviors and attitudes
Sara Lazar, PhD; Ruth Q. Wolever, PhD; Carl Fulwiler, MD PhD, , Worcester, MA, United States

Late Breaker: No


Many studies have investigated mindfulness based weight loss programs. Relatively little is known about the utility of using mindfulness to maintain significant weight loss. This symposia focuses on three NCCIH funded studies to explore the impact of mindfulness on dietary attitudes and behaviors, as well as psychosocial and neural measures that might support changes in eating and exercise habits. Two presenters studied mindfulness programs explicitly designed for weight-loss maintenance, the third presenter studied changes in dietary behaviors following a yoga based stress reduction program that did not include any explicit dietary content.


Many individuals who successfully lose significant amounts of weight will regain the weight within one year. New approaches are needed to help these individuals change their dietary habits and maintain their weight loss.


Participants will 1) gain an understanding of how mind body practices impact dietary habits and attitudes, and 2) how psychosocial factors such as self-efficacy, body awareness, and self-compassion mediate these changes.

Methods/Session Format

Each presenter will speak for 15 min and then 15 min for Q&A.


The first speaker will present findings from a pilot RCT of overweight individuals who are trying to maintain weight loss randomized to either MBSR or an active control. Measures to be reported include pre-post resting state functional connectivity, and pre-post and 6-month body weight, dietary behavior, emotional eating, exercise, and psychological predictors. The second speaker will present results of a qualitative interview conducted with 14 participants 12-18 months following a mindfulness-based weight maintenance intervention to understand how they had or had not incorporated mindfulness into their daily lives relative to eating. Results include changes in awareness of bodily sensations, differences in behavior and emotions, shifts in attention, thinking and decision-making, and increased awareness of long-term, higher order values. The third speaker will present findings from a pilot study that assessed changes in dietary attitudes and behaviors in stressed individuals who were not explicitly trying to change their weight or eating habits, and in the absence of any programmatic dietary/weight loss content. Results include changes in caloric intake and dietary quality, emotional eating, self-efficacy, self-compassion, and body awareness.