Participant information for those joining a programme that is part of the research trial

We would like to find out how good the Taste & See programme is for helping people develop a healthier relationship with food; feel better about themselves and about their lives. So we invite you to take part in this research. Before you decide whether to participate or not, it is important to understand what is being done and what participation will involve. Please take time to carefully read through this information, discuss it with friends, relatives and facilitators of the programme. If you have any questions or there is something which is not completely clear please contact us.

What is the purpose of carrying out this research?

The purpose is to evaluate how helpful a church-based intuitive eating programme, which incorporates principles of the Christian faith, is to the local community. The programme is called ‘Taste & See’ and is a developing approach to adopting a life-long healthy lifestyle. This is not about dieting but is about learning to eat in response to our body’s natural signals of hunger and fullness, rather than in response to our emotions and what we see or smell! The Christian principles of love, acceptance and freedom with responsibility fit well with this and are included in this programme to add a spiritual element. Evidence suggests that for many people, diets are unsustainable in the long-term; yo-yo dieting is associated with a sense of failure which impacts on quality of life. Evidence also suggests that programs, which help us to become spiritually healthy, as well as physically and emotionally healthy, may play an important role in helping with eating or weight problems. Lots of the evidence so far comes from America, we want to find out whether this type of programme could potentially be helpful to people in the UK.

Why am I being asked to take part?

It is likely that this programme is being run at a church local to you. You may have heard about it from members of your local community or seen it advertised locally. We need to recruit adults who would like help to manage their weight, or their eating habits, and are willing to try this programme. You do not have to belong to the Christian faith or be associated with the church to take part. We are particularly interested to see whether this is helpful for those who do not go to church.

Do I have to take part?

No, the decision to take part is entirely voluntary. If you decide to participate, you will be invited to provide your consent by either signing a form or agreeing to statements displayed online. You can change your mind and decide to pull out of the study at any time without giving a reason (although if you want to tell us why, we would be very interested to know). If you decide to pull out and do not want to be contacted again, please contact us on ab5042@coventry.ac.uk. Also, please let us know if you do not want your data to be used and we will destroy it, provided it has not already been included in the analysis.

How do I get started?

If you decide to participate, you will need to give your email address or postage address to the Taste & See facilitator at a local church. A list of churches taking part, with contact details, is listed here.

With your permission your Taste & See facilitator will register your email address with us. We will then send you an online questionnaire for you to complete before the programme can begin. Your email will not be used for any other purpose except this research, as it is detailed here.

The online questionnaire contains demographic questions about yourself, like your age, your background and your education. We will also ask you how tall you are and how much you weigh; we will ask how much fruit and how many vegetables you eat each day and about your eating habits, such as, whether you eat when you are hungry or sad or stressed? We will ask you about your mental well-being, your spiritual or religious beliefs, and some questions about your physical activity. We will also ask you some questions about your expectations of the programme.

Will my data be kept confidential?

Yes. All of the data collected for this study will be treated confidentially in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. No one will be able to identify who you are from the results of the study. Additionally your records will be given a participant identification number, so that all your data is anonymous.

The data will be kept until the research is completed and written up. It will then be archived for five years. Only the researchers will have access to the data. All electronic data will be stored in a password protected file on a password protected computer. No personal information will be shared with any external agencies.

What will happen next?

Once everyone who wants to sign up to your local Taste & See programme has completed their online questionnaires, your Taste & See facilitator will be told whether they can begin the programme straight away, or whether they have to start in 10 weeks’ time. This is decided by chance, like flipping a coin, so no-one can choose whether they can start straight away or in 10 weeks’ time. This is because to test the effectiveness of the programme fairly we need to make sure we have a control group where the data of those doing the programme can be compared to those not yet doing the programme. So please be prepared to wait a little before your programme might begin.

What will happen during the programme?

The Taste & See programme contains 10 weekly sessions, each about 1 hour long.  It contains DVD clips explaining the psychology of eating, the science of nutrition, what the bible says in relation to this and how others doing the programme have got on. There is opportunity to discuss these things in small groups, a workbook with some homework to help you get the most out of what you are learning. There are also daily bible readings if you want further inspiration.  The title and aim of the sessions are as follows:

Session 1: How is your relationship with food? To help you develop an awareness of self, of eating habits and consider a God who cares about this.

Session 2: What ‘diet rules’ do you follow? To introduce you to intuitive eating and how it compares to dietary restriction.

Session 3: How hungry are you? To help you identify hunger and fullness.

Session 4: Enjoying food again. To help you feel free to enjoy food.

Session 5: Why else do we eat? To help you understand impulsive responses, that lead people to eat to feel happier, to feel less bored or to reduce stress.

Session 6: Coping and Hoping. To help you identify ways to tackle stress, low mood and boredom.

Session 7: Leaving the past behind. To help you identify past hurts or habits that still influence your relationship with food today, to help you find healing in forgiveness.

Session 8: I am loved and I am lovely. To help you understand the truth of who you are.

Session 9: Next Steps. To help you consolidate new attitudes and behaviours, and to identify specific aspects of healthy living to work on.

Session 10: Pressing on. To equip you to be able to continue to develop your healthy relationship with food, once this Taste & See course finishes.

During the programme we will email you a link to some questions to see how you are getting on.

What will happen after the programme?

When you have finished the programme, you will be sent another link via email and asked to complete the end of programme questionnaire, this questionnaire will be similar to the one you filled in before the programme started. When you have completed this questionnaire we will send you a certificate, evidencing that you have completed the Taste & See programme.

As well as knowing how things changed during the programme we want to know the long lasting impact of the programme. Therefore we will send you link to two more of these questionnaires, one will be six months after the end of the programme and the last one will be 2 years after the end of the programme. As a thank you for completing all these questionnaires you will then receive a free V.I.P. invitation to Coventry University for a celebration event about the progress and future of the project.

What are the possible disadvantages and possible risks of taking part?

Participating in this study will take up some of your time, however we hope that this will be outweighed by the help you will receive to improve your eating habits and control your weight. You may find that some of the topics discussed raise sensitive issues for you. If these trouble you we suggest you contact your GP and ask to be directed to a local counselling service. There are also links to national helplines here.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

Participating in this programme could help you develop a better relationship with food, a healthier lifestyle and help you to manage your weight better. You may also benefit from the social support of a group or find the spiritual/religious  ideas helpful. Whatever you find helpful to you, we hope that you will find the experience beneficial.

What if something goes wrong?

This is a safe programme with no invasive procedures so it is very unlikely anything will go wrong. However, if you have any concerns you may contact Prof. Olivier Sparagaro (Chair of Coventry University Applied Research Committee) Priory Street, Coventry, CV1 5FB on ab8677@coventry.ac.uk.

What will happen to the results of the research?

We intend to publish the results in an academic journal and present them at academic conferences. If you would like to like to have a copy of the results, we will send these to you. Nobody will be able to identify you from the results of this research.

Who is running this research?

The research is being led by Dr Deborah Lycett, Reader/Associate Professor in Nutrition, Dietetics and Spiritual Health at Coventry University.

Who has reviewed the study? 

The study has been reviewed and approved by the Coventry University Ethics Committee.

Do you have any further questions?

If you have any further questions, please contact us on ab5042@coventry.ac.uk.