Eating and Weight Control: Mindful Eating (cont.)

"So we know it works to change eating patterns," says Quillian-Wolever. The next step is to figure out how to translate this into weight loss.

This summer, Kristeller, Quillian-Wolever, and Michael Baime, MD, director of the Penn Stress Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania, will begin to enroll about 225 obese people, some of them bingers, to see whether mindful eating plus coaching on portion control and other weight loss tactics results in lasting weight loss. Baime also plans to use brain scans to see what, if anything, is changing in the brains of people in the meditation group.

People can't sustain diets "if it's just willpower," Baime says. "Meditation does not require willpower at all. It requires awareness. If you actually listen to your body better, you'll know whether you're really hungry or not."

As for me? After the workshop, I must confess, I popped some chocolate chip cookies in the oven and, while they were baking, nibbled at the leftover raw dough. But I was mindful -- it was yummy!

Judy Foreman is a former staff writer for the Boston Globe who writes a nationally syndicated health column. Her past columns are available on

The opinions expressed herein are the guest's alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have a question about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This article is meant for informational purposes only.

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