Mindfulness: Is This the Way to Improve our Eating Habits and Reduce Smoking?


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This week we had Judson “Jud” Brewer, MD, PhD from Claritas Mind join us on PopHealth Week. I have recently gotten into Mindfulness and have used HeadSpace (which has been very good) daily for over a month. I’ll discuss Headspace in another post. More recently I started Eat Right Now developed by Claritas Mind and have used it daily as well. Eat Right Now states it’s “a program that utilizes a proven scientific approach to help you control your food cravings.”

It has surprised me how much of an impact mindfulness can have on my thinking and behavior. As I said, I really enjoy and have seen a difference using HeadSpace, a general mindfulness app. In just over a week using Eat Right Now, I have become much more aware of why I eat, what I eat and how I eat; three key ideas the program focuses on.

COPYRIGHT 2015 JUDSON BREWER. REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION

COPYRIGHT 2015 JUDSON BREWER. REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION

I can now differentiate when I’m really hungry versus craving due to some other issue, what’s driving some of my craving’s to eat, and how I can overcome them. My food choice and amount eaten have gotten better and I am extremely pleased with how the tools taught by the program have had an impact.

In the past I tried various eating apps, calorie trackers and wearables to see if they could impact my diet and weight. While I was consistent using them, they provided limited feedback, recommendations, education or tools. Ultimately they were just not useful and none were successful over the long-term. Jud discusses some of the reasons why during the show. I know its only been a little over a week but the program makes sense, works for me and I’m seeing results. Give me a few more months and I’ll offer an update to see if it holds; although I’m confident it will. Why? Mindfulness is changing my thinking and provides me with tools to change my behavior, versus just providing information or tracking things.

The smoking app developed by Claritas Mind, Craving to Quit, is based on “a program delivered as a group-based in-person training over 4 weeks in which a clinical trial yielded a 36% quit rate that largely persisted 4 months later (31%). This was twice as effective when compared head-to-head to the leading quit smoking therapy, ‘Freedom from Smoking’ after 4 weeks.” You can read the study here. Claritas Mind is now conducting clinical trials of both apps, an almost unheard of approach in the huge health app space.

Given the efforts employers, ACOs and public health departments are placing on smoking cessation and diet, perhaps these are tools that could be added to or replace current programs.

Below is some background on Jud and listen to the podcast for insights on how mindfulness can be used to solve two of the big population health issues: smoking and eating.

Judson “Jud” Brewer is the founder of Claritas Mind and a thought leader in the “science headshot_judof self-mastery,” having combined over 15 years of experience with mindfulness training with his scientific research therein. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, spoken at international conferences, and his work has been featured on 60 Minutes, at TEDx, Time magazine (top 100 new health discoveries of 2013), Forbes, CNN, BBC, NPR, Businessweek and others. He also writes an addiction blog for the Huffington Post. He graduated cum laude from Princeton University, Received his MD PhD from Washington University in St. Louis, and completed his psychiatry residency at Yale University School of Medicine, where he spent 5 years on faculty as an assistant professor and medical director of the Yale Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic at Yale. He is currently the Director of Research at the Center for Mindfulness and an associate professor in Medicine and Psychiatry at UMass Medical School. Based on his recent discoveries of brain regions involved in meditation, he is developing novel neurofeedback techniques to measure and train meditative “flow” states.

 

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Judson Brewer, MD, PhD on PopHealth Week

 

PopHealth Week is Produced by Health Innovation Media. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, or help with marketing your health or healthcare products or services through the world of social media, contact Gregg Masters (Gregg@healthinnovationmedia.com).

 

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Disclosures: I am an Advisor to Claritas Mind.

 

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