It is generally accepted that weight loss has many significant physiological benefits such as reduced risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. However, the evidence to support the psychological benefits of weight loss has not been well explored. Anecdotally, however, people tend to report they feel better about themselves after they have lost weight and this ‘feel good factor’ must not be underestimated.
A review of the published evidence1 has found that participants demonstrated consistent improvements in psychological outcomes concurrent with (and sometimes without) weight loss. Improvements in health-related quality of life were closely related to changes in weight.
Breakfast consumption has psychological and nutritional benefits thought to be due to physiological mechanisms and expectations about health. In a recent study of adult women (those with ideal weight or overweight), those who regularly consumed a cereal breakfast felt more satisfied about their body and weight than those who consumed a muffin breakfast, despite the fact that these breakfast options were matched in calories2. In addition, they felt fuller, less hungry, more relaxed and happier. Women appear to feel better when they believe they are eating a low calorie food and since a cereal breakfast was rated lower in calories, it produced more positive psychological reactions2.
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