June 12, 2011
-- New research published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology shows that focusing on your weight loss goal, rather than your successes in the past, helps you lose more weight. Participants in the study who focused on their goal reported higher levels of commitment, and ultimately lost more weight than those who focused upon past successes.
Researchers from Florida State University looked at over 100 participants in a weight loss program. The participants were divided into three separate groups, with each group being lead by a coach. The first group was a goal-oriented group, where weekly coaching sessions reinforced the weight-loss goal. The second group was an accomplishment-
oriented group, where the weekly sessions reinforced past successes of the participants. The third group acted as a control group that did not have a future or past orientation. The group that underwent weekly coaching to reinforce the weight loss goal lost about twice as much weight as the other two groups (4.6% of total body weight compared to 2.2% for the control group and 2.7% for the past-orientation group). Thomas F. Heston, MD ( http://www.tomheston.com
), a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and Editor of the Internet Medical Journal ( http://www.medjournal.com
) believes that this research has important implications for individuals who want to improve their health. "This research is important because it shows that a simple change in mental focus makes it more likely that a person will accomplish their weight loss goal. By focusing on the future weight goal, rather than past success, the level of commitment increased, and people lost more weight." Heston goes on to remark that "it is highly likely that this research finding will work in other important health areas, such as smoking cessation or exercise programs."
The lesson from this research suggests that you will be more successful in losing weight if you focus on your goal. This will create a greater commitment to your weight loss program and make it more likely that you will succeed.