Fat loss is one of the main reasons that people contract the services of a personal trainer. But did you know that peoples’ poor perception of their bodies may hinder their chances of losing weight, rather than acting as an incentive?
Recent research has found that improved body image can actually expedite fat loss in those undertaking diet and exercise programs.
Researchers from the Technical University of Lisbon in Portugal and Bangor University in the UK enlisted overweight and obese women to take part in a 12-month weight loss program. The women were divided into two groups; one group was placed on a behavioural intervention’ program consisting of 30 sessions in which exercise, improving body image, emotional eating and overcoming psychological barriers to weight loss were discussed. The second, control group, was provided with general health and nutrition information.
The behavioural intervention group reported improved perception of body image and lessened concern over body shape and size. The study subjects in this group were also better able to regulate their eating, and lost significantly more weight than those in the control group, losing an average 7% of their original weight, compared with 2% in the control group.
Dr Teixeira from Technical University of Lisbon, who led the research, said, “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 behaviour. 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.
Source: International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity