Being pessimistic and self-aware is linked to greater weight loss, research finds.
People who prefer to look at the facts and to consider alternatives do better when they try to lose weight.
In contrast, those who approach weight loss with childish optimism are doomed to fail.
The conclusion comes from a study of 101 obese people who were given combined counselling, nutrition and exercise therapy.
The results showed that people who were optimistic at the start of the six month trial found it harder to lose weight.
However, people who successfully lost weight did become more optimistic as time went on, even if they started out pessimistic.
A second key to weight loss is self-awareness.
It is important to be aware of what triggers eating and to be gathering information about what changes are working and what are not.
The authors write:
“It is important to enhance patients’ self-effectiveness and self-control in order to reduce psychological stress and to maintain the weight loss.
The weight loss should be attributed not simply to the intervention of the clinical psychologists but to the total effect of the intervention of a holistic medical care team.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal BioPsychoSocial Medicine (Saito et al., 2009).