There once was a woman with a rather large hook nose. And she loved that nose. She spoke of how it was her grandfather’s nose, who had his mother’s nose, who had her mother’s nose, and how that nose told a story of generations of people who were funny, brave, and kind. She wouldn’t trade that nose for anything, because even though it wasn’t pert and petite, and it overtook her face, it told a story of generations. She saw that nose as something to flaunt rather than hide. She loved that nose.
I don’t make this stuff up, girls! A new study* published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity shows that improving your body image can enhance the effectiveness of weight loss programs based on diet and exercise.
I learned this stuff through years of my own personal experiences with poor body image and weight gain, but I don’t have an M.D. or Ph.D after my name to make people really believe me, however this is EXACTLY what I’ve been practicing, preaching, teaching, and instilling in my clients.
Overweight and obese women were enrolled in a year-long weight loss program. Half were given information on eating well, exercise, stress management, and the importance of looking after yourself. The other half attended a 30 week group session where they discussed emotional eating, exercise, improving body image, and how to identify obstacles to weight loss and how to overcome them.
Compared with the first group of women, the second group improved the way they thought about their body and concerns over the size and shape of their body reduced. They were more successful in regulating what they ate and lost on average 7% of their starting weight compared with 2% for the group who just got the information alone.
Dr. Teixeira, who led the research had this to say:
“Body image problems are very common amongst overweight and obese people, often leading to comfort eating and more rigid eating patterns, and are obstacles to losing weight. Our results showed a strong correlation between improvements in body image, especially in reducing anxiety about other peoples’ opinions, and positive changes in eating behavior. From this we believe that learning to relate to your body in healthier ways is an important aspect of maintaining weight loss and should be addressed in every weight control program.”
So there you have it. I’m no doctor, but the message I’m trying to send about feeling good about yourself no matter what stage in your weight loss you are can be the linch pin in your success.
What do you think about this?
* BioMed Central Limited. “‘Love your body’ to lose weight.” ScienceDaily, 18 Jul. 2011. Web. 25 Jul. 2011.