Non-diet approach to weight management more effective in worksite wellness programs

July 7, 2014
Science Daily/University of Missouri-Columbia
Researchers have found that 'Eat for Life,' a new wellness approach that focuses on mindfulness and intuitive eating as a lifestyle, is more effective than traditional weight-loss programs in improving individuals' views of their bodies and decreasing problematic eating behaviors

Problematic eating behaviors and dissatisfaction with one's body are familiar struggles among women. To combat those behaviors, which have led to higher healthcare premiums and medical trends, employers have offered worksite wellness programs to employees and their families. However, the vast majority of wellness programs limit their approach to promoting diets, which may result in participants regaining the majority of their weight once the programs end. 

Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that "Eat for Life," a new wellness approach that focuses on mindfulness and intuitive eating as a lifestyle, is more effective than traditional weight-loss programs in improving individuals' views of their bodies and decreasing problematic eating behaviors.

"Intuitive eating and mindfulness are two relatively new intervention approaches that have been effective in supporting healthy eating and body image," Rossy said. "Eat for Life encourages individuals to become more engaged with their internal body signals and not the numbers on the scales."

Rossy found that women who participated in Eat for Life reported higher levels of body appreciation and intuitive eating and lower levels of problematic eating behaviors such as binging, purging and fasting, as compared to women who did not participate in the program. Eat for Life participants' weights ranged from normal to morbidly obese, and some women displayed eating disorder behaviors. At the end of the program, participants in the Eat for Life program were significantly more likely not to exhibit disordered eating. Mindfulness was a major factor in all of the positive outcomes, Rossy said.

"Eat for Life is not just for individuals with eating disorders," said Rossy. "This type of intervention program is for a variety of individuals who want to have more knowledge on how to be healthy and how to appreciate their bodies' value."
Science Daily/SOURCE :http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140707134331.htm

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