Research: Mindfulness does not predict weight loss success.

Research DefinitionResearch Definition

Mindfulness is not a good predictor with weight loss success.

woman with tape measure worried about weight

Woman with tape measure worried about weight

Weight loss success is difficult to predict.  There is behavior linked to weight loss success.  An example is that portion control is linked to weight loss success.  Identifying individuals who are less or more likely to respond to a weight loss intervention allows providers and insurance the ability to better allocation or focus of limited resources to achieve weight loss results. I have read many articles that claim that mindful eating as a potential cure-all for obesity.   The problem is that there is limited research to show evidence in support of the theory.  

Mindfulness is the quality of bringing attention to one’s experience of the present moment without judgment or attachment to outcomes.  A recent study centered on whether baseline levels of mindfulness would predict weight loss during a 12-month diet and exercise intervention[1].  The study was completed on a questionnaire.  The survey was administered and body weight measured, at baseline, three, six and 12 months in 140 subjects.  The subjects had pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes mellitus and a body mass index of at least 25 kg/m2.   Results of the study reveal that was no correlation between baseline mindfulness scores and weight loss.  There was a significant decrease in weight at 12 months but it did not increase in patients with a higher level of mindfulness.  The level of weight loss is comparable to the weight loss achieved by participants in other interventions of the same duration thus mindfulness is not.  

The bottom line:  Mindfulness is not research proven to predict success in weight loss.   In fact, the findings of this study suggest that mindfulness does not predict improved weight loss in a lifestyle (diet and exercise) intervention.  This does not mean that mindfulness does not help with weight loss.  It is just not a good predictor of success.  More research is needed.  


N. R. Fuller et al., “Examining mindfulness as a predictor of weight loss – Findings from the DIABEGG study,” O, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 88–96, Jan. 2017 [Online]. Available: 10.1016/j.orcp.2016.03.004″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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