Obesity is a worldwide problem that affects more and more people. It is not only an aesthetic issue, but also a health risk. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 2 billion people worldwide are overweight, and about 650 million of them are obese. Obesity can lead to many health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and more. Weight control, therefore, can be critical to reducing the risk of these diseases and improving health.
How psychology can help with weight loss
As obesity and overweight continue to rise around the world, the challenges of weight control become increasingly important. Fortunately, insights from psychology can help achieve healthier eating habits and better weight control.
Studies have shown that self-perception can be an important factor in weight control. One way to improve self-awareness is to keep a diary in which all foods and drinks are recorded. According to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM), daily writing in the food diary showed significant weight loss in obese adults. Writing down foods and drinks can help people gain awareness and control over their eating behaviors.
Mindfulness can also help people eat more consciously and control eating behaviors. One way to practice mindfulness is to eat without the distraction of television or smartphone. A study on mindfulness and eating behavior found that people who eat mindfully tend to eat more aware and control their eating behavior better than people who are distracted while eating. These findings are consistent with the idea that distracted eating can lead to overeating and a lower sense of satiety.
Emotion regulation can also help improve eating behavior. Identifying emotions and seeking alternative coping mechanisms rather than using food as a coping strategy can lead to better weight control. A study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that cognitive behavioral therapy aimed at improving emotion regulation led to significant weight loss in obese women. A 2017 study examined the relationship between emotion regulation and eating behaviors in overweight and obese individuals. Results showed that improved emotion regulation was associated with lower intake of sugary foods and higher intake of fruits and vegetables.
Another important strategy is behaviour change. Setting realistic goals and gradually implementing behaviour changes can help achieve long-term weight loss. A study in the journal Obesity Reviews showed that a gradual weight loss strategy that included small changes in diet and physical activity promoted long-term weight loss.
In addition to these tips from psychology, there are other factors that play a role in weight management. For example, a World Health Organization study showed that eating high-fibre foods such as whole grains and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of being overweight and obese.
Beverage choices can also have a big impact. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that consumption of sugared beverages was associated with a higher risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
A 2019 study examined the link between sleep and weight control. Researchers found that higher sleep quality was associated with lower body mass index (BMI). Another 2020 study found that people who eat breakfast regularly tend to have lower body weights than those who skip breakfast.
Other psychological tips and tricks for weight los:
- Begin a diet only if you feel motivated or self-disciplined. Those who believe their weight is malleable most often succeed (Ehrlinger et al., 2017)
- When supported by 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, exercise empty fat cells, builds muscle, speeds up metabolism, and helps lower your settling point. (Routsalainen et al., 2015)
- Minimize exposure to tempting foods. You can't eat if you can't reach it.
- Limit variety and eat healthy foods. Healthy fats,such as those found in olive oil and fish help regulate your appetite. (Taubes, 2001, 2002)
- Reduce portion sizes. Offered less, people consume less. (Lewis and Earl, 2018)
- We tend to have a healthier weight when we eat our lats meal in the early evening. (Wikinson et al., 2020) .
- Drinking alcohol, feeling anxious and depressed can unleash the urge to eat. (Herman & Polivy, 1980)
- Eating with others can distract us from monitoring our own eating. (Ward & Mann, 2000)
- Chart your progress. Those who record and publicly disclose their progress toward a goal, more often achieve it! (Harkin et al, 2016)
Finally, it is important to note that long-term weight management often requires a combination of strategies. A 2019 study examined the association between different weight control strategies and weight loss in overweight and obese adults. The results showed that the combination of a healthy diet, physical activity, and behaviour change provided the best weight control results.
It is important to note that weight control is a complex issue and several factors can play a role. However, there are many steps you can take to achieve your weight goals.
In summary, findings from psychology and recent studies can help with weight control. Strategies such as self-awareness, mindfulness, emotion regulation, and behaviour change can help control eating behaviours and achieve long-term weight goals. By combining different strategies and carefully tracking your progress, you can increase your chances of success.