Can Thinking and Writing Make You Thin?

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A combination of a healthy diet and good self-care contribute to weight loss. Image courtesy of the USDA

Can affirmations help with weight loss?

In a recent article for the Association for Psychological Science, Divya Menon reported on a study by Christine Logel of the University of Waterloo and Geoffrey L. Cohen of Stanford University titled:  The Role of Self in Physical Health:  Testing the Effect of a Values-Affirmation Intervention on Weight Loss.   They reported that women who completed a 15-minute writing exercise on values important to them went on to lose an average of 3.41 pounds over the next one to four months.  The control group gained an average of 2.76 pounds.  Could this simple exercise actually contribute to weight loss?

Self-Care and Weight

Science acknowledges that the complex relationship among genes, brain chemistry, and the environment contributes to the growing epidemic of obesity in the developed world.  Individuals have limited control over some of these factors, but we do make conscious decisions about what we eat and how much we eat.  Why, then do so many of us continue to treat ourselves badly, ingesting unhealthy food in excessive quantities while spending a fortune on fad diets and unused gym memberships?  One could draw the conclusion that we don’t like ourselves very much, or else that that we have little insight regarding our actions.

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