To lose weight, food reduction and physical exercise are not enough: it is essential to manage your emotions. This element is often overlooked when approaching a weight loss diet, which is generally based on the single factor “calorie intake and expenditure”.
This is important, of course, but not sufficient, at least not for everyone. This is shown by the results of a survey conducted at the initiative of the American Psychological Association, which questioned some 1,500 of its members, asked to explain how they supported their patients in the – difficult – process. weight loss and then, even more complicated, long-term consolidation.
The result indicates that half of these professionals attach as much importance to understanding and managing “emotional eating” (linked to stress, loss of control, impulsivity, etc.) as to practicing physical activity or limiting caloric intake.
Behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation for weight loss
The others establish a different hierarchy, knowing that the overwhelming majority of respondents consider that this psychological aspect is far too neglected. Many say they have successfully experimented with approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy or mindfulness meditation, while stressing the importance of motivational programs, goal planning and emotional support. In any case, to put the odds on your side, it is better not to embark on the adventure alone.
Vicious circle: A bad diet leads to a bad mood which leads to a bad diet
Unhealthy eating behaviors degrade mood, which in turn will lead to poor eating. “We looked at women in their daily lives to better understand the association between their mood and the way they eat, and thus get a more accurate picture of the relationship between emotions and food,” explains a team from Pennsylvania State University (Penn State).
Some two hundred women, very attentive to their figure, were recruited. For the duration of the survey, they had to respond several times a day to a questionnaire on their state of mind and their nutritional behavior. None had an eating disorder (anorexia or bulimia). The coordinator of this study observes that unhealthy eating habits, such as the irrepressible loss of control or, on the contrary, a sudden restriction of quantities, directly influences mood, by significantly degrading it.
This negative state of mind is a risk factor for unwelcome eating behavior…and so on. A vicious circle, then. The authors remind how important the control of emotions is in weight management, and in particular during weight loss diets, and suggest that cognitive-behavioral therapy can intervene very favorably.