A new study concludes that there may be more to success in weight management than diet and exercise.
The study, commissioned by cereal manufacturer Kelloggs for Special K, says that ‘mindset’ may play a critical role with nine out of 10 women who think positively about weight management either losing weight or maintaining weight for more than a year (that they had previously lost), compared with less than half of women with a negative approach.
The study also revealed that when it comes to avoiding weight gain, a common challenge during the holiday season, not only did women who think positively about their weight management report that they were more successful in losing or maintaining their weight, they were actually eight times less likely to report having gained weight than women who think negatively.
"This research is a compelling reminder of the power of thoughts to influence behaviour," said Dr Renee Engeln-Maddox, a psychologist from Northwestern University who was not involved in the research.
"Shifting to a more positive way of thinking about yourself and about weight management can pay off. When women engage in negative thinking about their bodies, the negative thinking can turn into unhealthy habits. This research by Special K suggests the opposite is also true. Thinking positively can have measurable benefits. It makes sense for women to ask themselves, 'What will I gain when I lose?'"
In addition to the significant differences in reported rates of weight management success between women who think positively and those who think negatively, the study also revealed the following findings:
Only one out of five women who have a positive attitude reported that they had a hard time getting back on track when their weight management plan was derailed, as compared to four out of five women with a negative attitude.
Women who lost or maintained their weight were three times as likely to rely on friends as a form of support.
Women who think positively about weight management were more likely to put a stop to negative conversations about their own or others' bodies.
"What's so compelling for me about this research is that it demonstrates how important one's attitude is for achieving real success with weight management -- it isn't just about what you eat and how much you exercise, but how you look and feel about yourself, too," said Dr Wendy Bazilian, a fitness and nutrition expert.
"This new insight will lend scientific credibility and enhance my current work in helping women find success with their health and weight goals by encouraging them to focus on the positive – and appreciating what the body is really capable of doing."