Meditation-Based Intervention for Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Meditation and Binge Eating Disorder

Photo Used Under a Creative Commons License via AlicePopkorn

Is it possible that individuals with Binge Eating Disorder could gain a greater sense of control over eating by giving up a certain amount of conscious control? It’s quite the paradox, really. A study completed at the University of Indiana examined this very idea. The study explored the use of meditation-based intervention for Binge Eating Disorder. The six-week study introduced 18 obese women to standard and eating-specific mindfulness meditation. After completing the study, episodes of binge-eating decreased from 4.02 episodes per week, to 1.57 episodes per week. Additionally, the women’s scores on the Binge Eating Scale (BES), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) decreased significantly; anxiety and depression went from mild-moderate to non-clinical levels. The women also reported an improvement in their sense of mindfulness, perceived control, awareness of hunger and satiety cues.

There are numerous reasons that meditation may be a successful form of therapy for individuals with Binge Eating Disorder (BED):

– people that regularly meditate exhibit greater control over random flow of thought

– meditation lowers brain reactivity; this may lower the impulses associated with Binge Eating Disorder

– it is believed that the act of meditating puts a space between thought and action, allowing for more time to think situations through before acting

– people that meditate regularly show an increased amount of connection in the white matter that connects the Anterior Cingulate Gyrus (ACG) to the rest of the brain; deficiencies in these connections are associated with addiction (including food addiction), depression, ADHD, obsessive behaviors, compulsive behaviors, and eating disorders

If you want to incorporate the art of meditation into your everyday life, there are several free downloadable meditations available through Buddha Net. A good meditation to start with is the Body Scan, which gives instructions on bringing awareness to bodily sensations. Buddha Net also offers meditations for progressive relaxation, learning how to calm the body with breath, cultivating peace and joy with the breath, mindful standing and walking, mindfulness of breath, mindfulness of sound and thought, healing painful emotions, and loving-kindness meditation.

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Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible. Please credit ‘© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. //’


J Health Psychol May 1999 vol 4 no 3 357-363

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