planning and problem solving

In a recent study published in the Journal of Health Psychology, researchers explore how problem-solving and planning behaviours influence weight management. The results suggest that individuals who were able to maintain their weight loss after a 12-week weight loss program showed stronger planning and problem-solving skills than those who gained weight following the program.


Weight loss management is critical in order to reduce the risk of developing weight-related illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Long-term weight management is difficult to achieve as life stressors such as work and eating habits, can result in a regain of weight. In a recent study, researchers examine how psychology influences an individual’s ability to maintain their weight loss. In particular, researchers explored attitudes towards planning and problem solving in the implementation of healthy habits that assist in long-term weight management.

Researchers recruited 53 participants who had completed a 12-week meal-replacement-based weight loss program. Data was collected in the form of interviews that occurred 16 weeks after completion of the program. The purpose was to identify attitudes towards planning and problem solving with respect to weight loss, as well as compare how these attitudes differed between individuals who were able to maintain their weight loss (ie. maintainers) and those who gained weight (ie. re-gainers).

The results of this study indicate that maintainers exemplified stronger problem-solving skills than re-gainers. While both groups expressed positive attitudes towards planning as a tool for success in weight loss, maintainers engaged in more incidences of concrete planning than re-gainers. Re-gainers were less likely to engage in planning behaviours.

This study sheds light on the psychological processes involved in weight loss management. Future initiatives should focus on developing strong problem solving and planning techniques in weight loss patients so as to maximize weight loss success.


Written By: Nicole Pinto, HBSc

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