A little positive thinking doesn’t hurt when you’re trying to lose weight-but a lot may. Although we’re often told to not be too hard on ourselves, a new Japanese study shows how experiencing some negative emotions can actually help us reach our weight-loss goals.
Doshisha University researchers psychologically profiled more than 100 patients who spent six months attending an obesity clinic for nutrition and exercise counseling. Although most of the patients’ optimism improved over this period, that increase had no impact on weight loss. However, patients who started the counseling with high levels of optimism lost less weight than other patients.
The study explains that while an increase is optimism over the course of a weight-loss experience isn’t necessarily a hindrance, a little negativity can serve as a motivator, as it often reflects a deeper concern for one’s health and appearance.
Researchers also found that the most successful patients at the clinic were those who became more self-aware, and they noted that a holistic strategy is the most successful approach to weight loss, as opposed to a psychology intervention alone.
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