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Exercise, Weight and Diet
Psychological Benefits of Including Exercise in a Weight Loss Program
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Exercise, Weight & Diet - Study

Men gain additional psychological benefits by adding exercise to a weight-loss program.

Weight-Study - Aim
Adding exercise to a comprehensive weight-loss program might not only attenuate any psychological distress associated with weight-loss attempts but also may provide psychological benefits. This study examined whether a diet-plus-exercise weight-loss program improved psychological outcomes more than a diet-only weight-loss program or an assessment-only control group.

Weight-Study - Methods
This study was part of a larger 1-year randomized weight-loss trial examining the effects of diet and exercise on cardiovascular disease risk factors in 264 overweight adults. Psychological measures specific to weight control (e.g., cognitive restraint, disinhibition, hunger, and body dissatisfaction) as well as traditional measures of psychological distress (e.g., symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress) were obtained at baseline and 1 year.

Weight-Study - Results
Men and women in either weight-loss program reported greater restraint, less disinhibition, and less hunger at 1 year than those in no program. Men in the diet-plus-exercise program experienced additional increases in restraint and decreases in hunger than did men in the diet-only program. Women in the diet-plus-exercise program did not experience additional psychological benefits specific to weight control than those in the diet-only program, despite increases in aerobic capacity.

Weight-Study - Issues
The pattern seen for overweight men in the diet-plus-exercise program at 1 year-greater restraint, less disinhibition, and less hunger-is similar to the pattern seen in successful weight maintainers. These results underscore the need for innovative strategies that will enhance and sustain the pattern of psychological benefits specific to weight control associated with successful weight loss, especially for overweight women.

Source: Kiernan M, King AC, Stefanick ML, Killen JD. Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California. 2001

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Weight Loss News
Theories about how to lose weight, how to reduce obesity and general weight management are constantly changing along with ideas about which weight loss diet program is best and so forth. At present, however, a balanced diet combined with regular exercise remains the favorite weight loss strategy of most dietitians and weight loss experts.

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