February 12, 2018
By BROOKE SIEM @brookesiem
Anyone who’s ever struggled with food knows that the path to gaining control over what you put in your mouth begins in your mind. Mouth watering cravings can derail a dieter faster than a loaded ice cream cone on a hot day, and getting control over those cravings can be a lifelong struggle.
Though the term “mindfulness” has only recently gone mainstream, using mindfulness as a craving and weight management tool isn’t a new technique. Not only have researchers been studying the effects of mindfulness on weight loss for years, citing that mindfulness training can have a positive effect on weight loss and be used as a tool as part of eating disorder recovery, but ancient Buddhist texts suggest that cravings lead to suffering but that cravings can be avoided through mindful meditation practice.
Though researchers have long known about the positive effects of mindfulness on cravings and weight loss, it seems that we may be starting to understand why it works. According to a recent study published in Clinical Psychology Review by Dr. Katy Tapper, mindfulness strategies may affect food cravings by occupying the short term memory.
After looking at 30 studies, Tapper said, “The research suggests that certain mindfulness-based strategies may help prevent or interrupt cravings by occupying a part of our mind that contributes to the development of cravings.” Tapper acknowledges that more research needs to be done on the subject in order to determine if mindful strategies are more effective for battling cravings than than other mental strategies, but for now, we’ll take comfort in the fact that a little mindfulness can help us say “no” to that oh so creamy, cool, cone.