November 22, 2002 02:22:57 PM PST, Reuters
Overweight middle-aged women who want to shed a few pounds will be most successful if they are highly motivated, if their ideal weight is not vastly different from their actual weight, and if their dieting history does not include yo-yo dieting, according to study findings.
The findings may help women and weight-loss specialists predict if an individual will be successful in achieving their desired weight reduction.
"One has to be aware of their individual psychological status and history because it can limit their success in following any program," study author Dr. Timothy G. Lohman, of the University of Arizona in Tucson, told Reuters Health.
In short, he explained, "you need to understand your own barriers to eating less and exercising more to be successful."
Lohman and his colleagues looked at 112 overweight women, aged 40 to 55, who were enrolled in a 2-year weight loss and maintenance program. Their findings are based on the women's success during the first 4 months of the program.
All of the women lost some weight during the study, the investigators report in the December issue of the Journal of Behavioral Medicine.
However, the 37 women who were most successful in losing weight initially reported the lowest number of recent and repeated diet attempts and the highest levels of body satisfaction--i.e. their target weights were the closest to their actual weights, the report indicates.
These women lost 6.4 or more kilograms (about 14 pounds) and achieved a minimum 90% of their target weight loss, the report indicates.
The least successful women, in contrast, achieved only about 25% of their target weight loss, losing a maximum 1.9 kilograms (about 4 pounds).
These women initially reported a history of yo-yo dieting, higher levels of body dissatisfaction, lower self-esteem and lower self-motivation to lose weight. They also indicated that they would be less satisfied with smaller weight losses at the start of the study and perceived their weight to have a greater impact on their quality of life, particularly their work life.
In light of these findings, "an assessment of weight loss readiness before an attempt to lose weight would help women be aware of their barriers or resistance to weight loss," Lohman said.
SOURCE: Journal of Behavioral Medicine 2002;25:499-523.