Before you try out that new weight loss diet or exercise regimen everyone's been raving about, there's one other thing you should be working on first: loving your body. According to research published by the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, people who improve their body image respond better to diet- and exercise-based weight loss programs. This means that the less worries you have about your body, the easier it will be for you to maintain a steady rate of weight loss.
The researchers from the Technical University of Lisbon and Bangor University examined overweight women whom they enrolled in a one-year weight loss program. Half of the women took general health classes, while the other half engaged in "intervention plan" lessons on topics like exercise, emotional eating, and improving your body image. The results showed that those using the intervention plan felt less concerned about their body shape. They subsequently lost an average of 7 percent of their body weight while the first group lost less than 2 percent.
Dr. Texeira of the Technical University of Lisbon said having a negative body image made obese and overweight people resort to things like comfort eating, which hindered them from losing pounds. "Our results showed a strong correlation between improvements in body image, especially in reducing anxiety about other people's opinions, and positive changes in eating behavior," she is quoted as saying.
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(Photo by lululemonathletica via Flickr Creative Commons)