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Collaborative Success Stories: Off the Scale


healthy eating

University of Missouri researchers say stay off the scale.

People on diets weigh themselves regularly. This can help people initially lose weight, but often they gain the weight back once the diet is over. The “yo-yo” effect, which is common with traditional weight-loss diets, can be more harmful than never losing any weight.

An alternative approach has recently emerged, called intuitive eating: learning to eat from internal cues such as hunger and fullness, rather than external circumstances such as being stressed or having food readily available.

MU researcher Lynn Rossy and her colleagues at Healthy for Life, health psychology, and counseling psychology studied women who enrolled in MU’s “Eat for Life” wellness program. The ten-week program teaches participants to engage in mindful eating activities, such as deciding what food will be most satisfying at the present moment or pausing midway through a meal to assess whether they are still hungry. Participants are also asked not to weigh themselves for the ten weeks of the program.

The researchers found that women who participated in the program reported higher levels of body appreciation, intuitive eating and mindfulness. They also reported lower levels of problematic eating behaviors such as binging, purging and fasting. Further, mindfulness partially mediated the positive changes that were found. The researchers’ findings were published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Lynn Rossy is a health psychologist for Healthy for Life and director of the Mindfulness Practice Center at MU.

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Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine