The Most Common Barrier To Weight Loss

The Most Common Barrier To Weight Loss post image

Over one thousand
psychologists were asked what is the biggest barrier to weight loss.

Emotional eating is the top
barrier to weight loss, according to a survey of licensed psychologists.
Almost every psychologist
polled said that successful weight loss involved helping the client, “address
underlying emotional issues related to weight gain”.
Emotional eating refers to
eating as a way to deal with emotions, rather than hunger.
For example, someone who is
bored might eat a whole packet of cookies.
Or, someone who is sad might
go straight to their comfort food of pizza.
These emotional eating
patterns are often learnt in childhood.
Children given sweet treats as
a reward can continue this habit in adulthood.
The problem with emotional
eating is that once the pleasure of eating is over, the emotional hunger
Breaking the cycle of
emotional eating involves identifying the feelings and situations that trigger
eating and changing the habit.
The strategies that most psychologists
recommend include cognitive therapy, mindfulness and problem-solving.
These were all rated either
“excellent” or “good” strategies by the psychologists.

Professor Norman B. Anderson,
an expert on mind/body health, said:
“Anyone who has ever tried to
lose a few pounds and keep them off knows that doing so isn’t easy.
The good news is that research
and clinical experience have shown that, in addition to behavioral approaches,
cognitive behavioral therapy that targets emotional barriers helps people lose
The conclusions come from a
survey of 1,328 licensed psychologists.
They were all asked how they
helped their patients lose weight: 92% cited the need to target emotional

Professor Anderson said:
“Although it is generally accepted
that weight problems are most often caused by a combination of biological,
emotional, behavioral and environmental issues, these new results show the key
role of stress and emotional regulation in losing weight. 
Therefore, the best weight
loss tactics should integrate strategies to address emotion and behavior as
well as lifestyle approaches to exercise and making healthy eating choices.”
The study was conducted by the
Consumer Reports National Research Center for the American Psychological

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.