Improved Body Image Leads to Better Weight Loss Results

body image weightlossNew research demonstrates that the effectiveness of weight loss programs can be improved when paired with a program to boost body image and acceptance.  Body image issues are common in overweight and obese people and are usually linked to poorer weight loss outcomes. In addition, it has been shown that poor body image has been consistently associated with negative eating behaviors that sabotage weight loss. Thus, it is very important to address and reduce body image concerns when treating obesity.

The study was conducted by researchers from Technical University of Lisbon and Bangor University and published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. The researchers divided a group of 239 overweight and obese Portuguese women into two groups. One group was given general information on how to build a healthy diet, effectively manage stress, and follow a physical fitness routine, and the other group participated in 30 group sessions discussing topics such as physical activity, emotional eating, and improving body acceptance and body image.

The findings indicated that the women in the interventional group –those participating in the group sessions–developed better opinions about their bodies and consequently were able to better control their eating. They lost on average 7 percent of their body weight over the course of a year, while the other group lost on average 2 percent.   The study findings demonstrated that body image improved during the intervention, confirming that behavioral weight loss programs, especially when a body image component is included, can be an effective way of improving body image and boosting weight loss.

Dr.  Thomas Lavin, expert bariatric surgeon of the Surgical Specialists of Louisiana, commented on the study. “This new research has indicated that having a positive body image can help you lose weight. To develop a healthier body image you need concrete proof that you’re actually achieving weight loss.” said Dr. Lavin

Bariatric surgery is considered a highly effective treatment for obesity. However, Dr. Lavin explained to us that according to NIH guidelines, some people who are overweight (BMI of 25 – 30) or even some who are considered obese (BMI 30 – 35) don’t qualify for standard laparoscopic bariatric procedures.  He told us that there are, however, options for these groups of patients.  Lavin said: “the new incisionless endoscopic procedure, the POSE (Primary Obesity Surgery, Endolumenal), can give these people opportunity for weight loss by curbing their appetite through shrinking the stomach, thereby causing decreased hunger and cravings as well as decreased capacity at meals. “

Dr. Lavin concluded that he agreed with the study, saying “A positive body image is the foundation for weight management. These procedures can be the tools that helps patients gain that positive body image as they begin seeing tangible results after years of yo-yo dieting.”

You can visit, to learn more about the POSE procedure.


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