The weight loss industry is one which attracts several billion dollars each year from the United States alone, a fact which speaks to the national preoccupation with feeling and looking slim. A percentage of these funds are spent by those who have issues with obesity, which goes well beyond a basic inclination to lose a few pounds in preparation for a special event or to fit back into a favorite outfit. The quest to understand how those with obesity can best achieve healthy and successful weight loss has been ongoing for several years, and many different aspects of dieting, exercising, and daily living have been examined. The quest has had a particularly interesting spotlight recently in Japan, where researchers at Doshisha University have studied the effects of personality traits on weight loss among the obese.
The study administered a series of questionnaires to participants aimed at evaluating their psychosocial profiles prior to beginning supervised weight loss regimens. For a period of six months, participants worked through a weight loss program, including diet and exercise assistance as well as counseling, after which they were once again asked to complete a survey evaluating the same aspects of personality. The results found that those participants who exhibited an ability to improve their self-awareness through counseling were more successful with weight loss.
However, the results also revealed that participants who began the program with a high degree of optimism were less likely to lose weight than were those who showed some negative thoughts and feelings. While the findings may seem contrary to long-held ideas about the power of positive thinking and optimism, they are not entirely revolutionary; previous studies have uncovered similar notions, suggesting that allowing for optimism to build during the treatment itself is more effective than approaching treatment with a high degree of confidence and positivity.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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