Elissa Epel, PhD
16 Videos

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Mindfulness is teaching people to actually notice that they're probably not in the present moment, they're thinking about the future or the past, and to get grounded so that they can be less stressed and they can eat what they choose to and enjoy it and be present for that because most of our eating is automatic, so we've done many trials, chemical trials, corporate mindful eating, so far what we found, what we think is happening is that when people are trained in mindfulness and in mindful eating their cortisol is much more well regulated so having all that extra cortisol stimulating their appetite and craving.

And they are able to notice their hunger and fullness more while they're eating. So before it's too late, before they've overeaten and they're able to enjoy the food more. And we found that the people who got less stressed during our program, tended to gain less weight, and now we've been a weight-loss program where we're not just training in mind hospital for weight loss, and we found that in mindfulness group, they are losing more weight and keeping it off over a year later.

So this is exciting because it suggests that the component we're adding is a self-regulation component that'a missing. It's missing in most weight programs, it's missing in [INAUDIBLE] life. So with obesity there are really two frontiers we need to exploit: One is the interior. We need to understand how our mind works and how our brain works, and we really are just starting to get a hand on that and so for example, what causes sustained motivation, and what helps us put the break on influitivity, what puts us in our prefrontal cortex or analytical brain where we can actually have more future-oriented thinking and control our behavior, so mindfulness is one tool, it's the best that I know of that can do all of that, it can reduce stress arousal, it can help people use their wisdom and their self-control, and partly I think that's to increasing their working memories, so during stressful moments, if they're mindful, they can actually observe their behavior and thoughts and feelings and have a dialog with themselves, what do I want to do in this moment? [MUSIC].