Not having lunch at your desk and switching off the TV while eating could be the key to losing weight, says new study.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina analysed data from 80 people who said they were ready to lose weight at the start of the study.
The results showed that, after 15 weeks, those in the mindful group had lost 1.9kg compared with 0.3kg for participants in the control group.
A key part of mindful eating is concentrating on the food on your plate, chewing for longer and enjoying meals at a slower pace.
Followers are also encouraged to eat without any disruptions, such as chatting, checking emails or watching TV.
Experts claim this makes it easier for people to recognise when they are full, and consume less.
Lead researcher Dr Carolyn Dunn, from North Carolina State University, said: “Mindful eating is eating with purpose, eating on purpose, eating with awareness, eating without distraction.
“When eating only eating – not watching television or playing computer games or having any other distractions, not eating at our desks or replying to emails.
“People did increase their mindfulness and they did absolutely decrease their weight.” None of those in the trial were asked to change their diet.
But by concentrating on what they were eating, they gradually ate less.
Participants were also encouraged to only have a couple of bites of their favourite junk food, such as puddings, and slowly savour them.
Dr Dunn added: “We instructed people to eat the foods they love, and not give them up, but to eat them in a mindful way.
“We would tell them to eat one or two bites, but to eat those one or two bites with awareness, so they are getting the most pleasure out of those one to two bites.
“Those first two bites are associated with the most enjoyment – eating more will certainly give you more calories but not more enjoyment.”
Mindfulness – dubbed “meditation-lite” – has become increasing popular and involves focusing on the moment and embracing your inner zen.
Other leading experts warned eating while stressed triggers weight-gain.
Professor Hermann Toplak, President of European Society of Obesity, encouraged Brits to relax before dinner.
He said: “Reducing stress before eating is one of the most important things. If you have stress in your job, don’t go [straight] home for dinner.
“You have to reduce your stress levels before – walk or do something restful – then you will eat differently.
“If you are eating out from your stress and that’s very frequent today – especially in cities like London where people are so busy – then you eat quicker, fatter and sweeter.
“And if you reduce stress levels you will eat salad, you will eat vegetables, because you are in the mood to eat things like that also.”