Weight & Fitness Research
Researchers from Plymouth University in the UK tested Elaborated Intrustion Theory (EI), - the idea that food cravings happen when an involuntary thought about an appealing food (generated either by seeing it, smelling it or some other external prompt; or by internal sensations of hunger, anxiety, fatigue, etc) gets elaborated by strong, multisensory and inherently rewarding "mental images" of that food – the way it looks, tastes, smells, feels and even sounds – wonderfully described as a kind of imaginary relish that produces a form of exquisite torture.
Researchers from Colorado State University and the National Institutes of Health examined the relationship between dispositional mindfulness to binge eating and associated eating attitudes and behaviors among adolescent girls at risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D).
One hundred fourteen overweight or obese girls with a family history of T2D and mild depressive symptoms were enrolled in the study.
The researchers collected adolescent self-reports of mindfulness, eating in the absence of hunger, and depressive symptoms. They also interviewed them to determine presence of binge eating episodes, and used a behavioral task to assess the reinforcing value of food vs. other non-snack food rewards. They also assessed body composition through dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.
Researchers from Plymouth University in the UK investigated whether brief guided imagery and body scanning exercises could reduce food cravings.
Elaborated Intrusion (EI) Theory proposes that cravings occur when involuntary thoughts about food are elaborated with affectively-charged imagery. It has been found that craving can be weakened or interrupted by working memory tasks that block the imagery or prevent the involuntary thoughts from being elaborated in the first place.
Research has found that imagery techniques such as body scanning and guided imagery can reduce the occurrence of food thoughts.
This study tested the prediction that body scanning and guided imagery can also reduce craving.
Researchers from Plymouth University in the UK investigated whether guided imagery could interrupt food cravings.
Elaborated Intrusion Theory proposes that cravings occur when involuntary thoughts about food are elaborated and expanded upon in the mind. A key part of this elaboration is affectively-charged imagery. It is already understood that craving can be weakened by working memory tasks that block the imagery.
EI Theory predicts that cravings could also be reduced by preventing involuntary thoughts being elaborated in the first place. Imagery techniques such as body scanning and guided imagery should be able to reduce the occurrence of food thoughts.
Jeff Rossman, PhD, Director of Behavioral Medicine at Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires in Lenox, Massachusetts, conducted a study with 16 staff members as part of a general behavioral/educational program for weight loss.
As with a study at the Joslin Clinic in New York, half the group used the Health Journeys Weight Loss imagery; the other half just listened to the music that scored it - Steven Mark Kohn’s Music for Meditation.
The group that listened daily to the weight loss guided imagery while attending an 8-week weight reduction program, lost an average of 8.5 pounds. The group that listened daily to just the music alone, while participating in the same program, lost an average of 4.25 pounds - exactly half.
Rossman says that at superficial glance, the guided imagery group seems to have done extremely well. (This exploratory study is not published at this time.)
Researchers from the Department of Family Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, reviewed the research literature to see what if any integrative therapies had been found effective for the treatment of obesity and helping with weight loss.
The analysts report that the only integrative interventions (or what used to be referred to as CAM or complementary and alternative methods) they could find that the evidence supported, were three approaches: (1) ingesting food containing diacylglycerol oil; (2) acupuncture; and (3) hypnosis.
In the past, studies of weight-control diets that are high in protein or low in glycemic index have reached varied conclusions, probably owing to the fact that the studies had insufficient power.
Because of this, a team of researchers enrolled overweight adults from eight European countries who had lost at least 8% of their initial body weight with a low-calorie diet. Participants were randomly assigned, in a two-by-two factorial design, to one of five diets to prevent weight regain over a 26-week period. These were: a low-protein and low-glycemic-index diet, a low-protein and high-glycemic-index diet; a high-protein and low-glycemic-index diet; a high-protein and high-glycemic-index diet; or a control diet.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania examined the effects of a 6-wk intervention that used guided relaxation and exercise imagery (GREI) to increase self-reported leisure-time exercise behavior among older adults.
A total of 93 community-dwelling healthy older adults (age 70.38 ± 8.15 yr, 66 female) were randomly placed in either a placebo control group or an intervention group. The intervention group received instructions to listen to an audio compact disk (CD) containing a GREI program, and the placebo control group received an audio CD that contained 2 relaxation tracks and instructions to listen to music of their choice for 6 wk.
Investigators from the Research Centre in Physical Activity, Health & Leisure in Porto, Portugal conducted a study to analyze the association between blood pressure and (1) body mass index (BMI), (2) degree of physical activity and (3) cardio-respiratory fitness (CRF) in young people.
The study included 66 boys and 97 girls (average age around 14). Measures were taken of blood pressure and cardio-respiratory fitness during the school day, and accelerometers were used to determine degree of physical activity, both during and away from school.
Researchers from the Department of Psychology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec tested the idea that adding targeted mental imagery to a behavioral change program with the goal of eating more fruit would increase the probability of subjects following through on their goals.
One hundred seventy-seven residents of a student residence were assigned the goal of consuming extra portions of fruit every day for 7 days. They were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: (1) control (active rehearsal), (2) planning of intentions, (3) mental imagery or (4) mental imagery targeted to the plan.