People in touch with their feelings have less belly fat

A study of 400 people found that those who were mindful, which means they pay attention to their present thoughts and feelings, were less likely to be obese. They also had less belly fat than less mindful people.

The study only measures an association, notes says Eric Loucks, assistant professor of epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health, who led the study. It does not prove that higher mindfulness causes weight loss.

But here’s what Loucks hypothesizes is going on: Like other animals, people are evolutionarily predisposed to stock up on calories when they are available and to rest when they get the chance. In prehistoric times that was a sensible survival instinct but in a first-world context of fast food and television, it can easily lead to excessive weight gain.

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