When it comes to losing weight, a popular New Year’s resolution for many, people often focus on eating less and exercising more. But results of a new survey of psychologists suggest dieters should pay attention to the role emotions play in weight gain and loss if they hope to succeed.
Ninety-two percent of the 306 psychologist respondents who provide weight loss treatment reported helping a client “address underlying emotional issues related to weight gain.” More than 70 percent identified cognitive therapy, problem-solving and mindfulness as “excellent” or “good” weight loss strategies. In addition, motivational strategies, keeping behavioral records and goal-setting were also important in helping clients to lose weight and keep it off, according to survey results.
Cognitive therapy helps people identify and address negative thoughts and emotions that can lead to unhealthy behaviors. Mindfulness allows thoughts and emotions to come and go without judging them, and instead concentrate on being aware of the moment.
The survey results will be reported in the February 2013 issue of Consumer Reports Magazine® and online at ConsumerReports.org.
“Anyone who has ever tried to lose a few pounds and keep them off knows that doing so isn’t easy. The good news is that research and clinical experience have shown that, in addition to behavioral approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy that targets emotional barriers helps people lose weight,” said Norman B. Anderson, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Psychological Association.