Willpower linked to weight loss

Updated: Jan 25, 2013, 14:48 PM IST

Washington: Individuals with greater willpower are more likely to shed unnecessary pounds, says a new study.

Researchers led by Tricia M. Leahey found that individuals with more willpower or self-control lost more weight; were more physically active; consumed fewer calories from fat; and had better attendance at weight loss group meetings.

The same was true for participants who experienced an increase in self-control during a six-month behavioural weight loss treatment programme, the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice reports.

While the findings may seem obvious, Leahey from the Miriam Hospital`s Weight Control and Diabetes Research Centre, says there have been surprisingly few studies focusing on the impact of self-control on weight loss.

"Of course, it makes sense that if you have more willpower you`ll do better in a weight loss programme, however, this phenomena is surprisingly not studied much," she says, according to a Miriam statement.

"Our study is the first to examine whether practicing acts of self-control during weight loss is linked to an increase in self-control and better weight loss outcomes, although other research has demonstrated this effect in the area of smoking cessation," Leahey adds.

"The more you `exercise` it by eating a low fat diet, working out even when you don`t feel like it, and going to group meetings when you`d rather stay home, the more you`ll increase and strengthen your self-control `muscle` and quite possibly lose more weight and improve your health," says Leahey.