weight loss and psychology

Weight Loss And Psychology-The Holistic Way

weight loss and psychologyPsychology and weight loss cannot be disassociated because overweight is a physical problem that has the tendency to affect the person emotionally.

Psychologists have identified and agreed that weight loss may be very difficult to achieve without putting the person’s state of mind into cognizance. It is believed that overweight individuals tend to be depressed. While there were debates as to which comes first obesity or depression, but it is well-established fact that both do exist.

Breaking Free From Emotional Eating


Dr. John B. Dixon and his team from Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia, have lately written in the Medical Journal Archives of Internal Medicine, concerning a recent study where 487 obese individuals, scheduled for stomach-banding surgery to help them lose weight, were made to fill out a standard questionnaire prepared to detect depression.

The result of depression before surgery was about 17.7, but a year after the surgery, when the questionnaire test was taken again the depression rate has fallen to an average of 7.8. Which is very significant, if I may say.


This is another variable that must be considered when dealing with obesity because weight loss could be difficult to achieve if someone is anxious, and that would lead the person to eat without minding the effect on his/her continuing physical and psychological health deterioration.

Behavioral Science And Weight Loss:

For us to truly achieve the desired weight loss, we need to look at the ways we have learned to solidify our thinking and behaviors. Among the most basic theories linked to behavioral science is that of ‘reinforcement theory’.

Reinforcement theory is all about how we reward behaviors that we want to continue with and then remove rewards from behaviors we wish to discontinue. For example, as children our parents rewarded the behavior they wanted us to keep by giving us candies, thereby reinforcing that behavior.

As adults, we have the custom of a family reunion where we come together as a family with loved ones, and if we were unable to eat at this occasion we feel deprived wishing to have a situation where we could eat just as much as we want with our loved ones.

Now, these practices that we have been practicing almost our entire life would have solidified this custom thereby making it difficult to have a long-term weight loss management or maintenance without feeling deprived.

There is certainly nothing wrong with eating, but only making an observation on the psychological issues that undermined long-term weight loss. Fortunately, psychologists are now working toward dealing with obesity holistically including helping people to understand the psychological components and the physical and nutritional aspects too.

Final Thought: Self Denial 

Some people may have an overweight issue, yet they would not consciously admit and accept the fact that they do. However, subconsciously they will be having the self-image problem which may ultimately cause them to look for a way to get themselves happy.

And on the quest of searching for happiness they might end up eating more junk foods and consequently increasing their obesity. Therefore, for a starter, there is the need to accept or to understand that there is a problem, by so doing the psychological state of mind will be healthy and open for improvements.

After all, it is not a crime to be overweight, it’s just that it is not healthy. When they begin to think in that direction there will be a lot more psychological strength toward managing obesity.

Breaking Free From Emotional Eating

8 thoughts on “Weight Loss And Psychology-The Holistic Way”

  1. Levi

    Great article on a more unique view! Few people associate dieting and the psychological mindset, though it is important! Keep up the great writing!

  2. shannel harvey

    interesting post, I think losing weight is harder if your depressed as for some people food is a comfort and makes us feel a bit better. Have you got any tips for sticking to weight loss goals…

    1. Nnamdi

      Hi Shannel,thanks for appreciating.
      I must not sugar-coat the answer to your question by telling you it is easy or difficult to stick to your weight loss goals.But the answer is simple,getting your mindset to be positive,that you can and will stick to your weight loss goals.Once you get that fixed,then the rest is easy. If for instance you find it difficult to stay away from eating your favorites that might be junks,you can substitute that for another healthy foods such as fresh fruits and veggies.And i must emphasize that the mental state is the fundamental basis for weight loss. Then exercise and dieting may come into play and give a long term weight loss without a rebound.I can go on and on with explanations that could make another article.But i do hope that this answered your question.

  3. Vanessa

    This is an interesting perspective. I can easily believe that depression and obesity are linked. I agree that a positive mindset would help someone lose weight and I look forward to reading more.

    Do you think stress relieving exercises would benefit?

    1. Nnamdi

      Thank you Vanessa.

      And yes stress relieving exercise could benefit,because it will take care of the effects stress could have on our behavioral aspect of life such as eating too much or eating too little,sleeping too much or sleeping too little. Therefore,if it could cause one to be eating too much,that will ultimately lead to weight gain instead.But if we engage in stress relieving exercise these things could be prevented.And do not forget that,it is healthy to be stress free.

  4. Tina

    Hi Nnamdi. Good article on the association between weight loss and psychology. In my case, I’d likely gain weight due to depression. When dealing with emotional issue, my body is going to want junk food to ease the pain or stress.

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