When trying to tackle a subject as delicate as the training of overweight people , the fulfilment or not of the objectives that have been set will depend basically on two factors.

First, the technical aspects related to training and nutrition; and second, the management of the client’s environment: emotions, habits and customs, beliefs or motivation.

Emotions are key to gaining or losing weight

Most people know that in order to lose weight it is necessary to eat less and/or exercise more, but many overlook other factors that will favour or hinder this objective (losing weight), such as the psychological aspects .

The relationship between emotions and weight loss is clear. For example, at times of emotional instability we are more likely to eat fatty foods. But psychological and emotional variables are not only important for dietary success, they also have an important effect on the success of physical training (for example, on adherence ).

Physical activity experts have long since paid attention to psychological factors (motivation, emotional management, realistic expectations, beliefs about oneself, etc.), as research on the aspects that affect exercise and nutrition has led them to explore emotional needs, often revealing lifestyle patterns that are harmful, behaviours that are addictive, and personal and family challenges that interfere with achieving clients’ goals.

In this regard, it is necessary that these factors be redirected in order to follow the weight loss plan successfully.

Psychology has also provided scientific evidence in this regard

But not only have physical activity experts explored the emotional variables that affect weight loss success, but psychologists have also been interested in the relationship between emotions and the achievement of this goal.

A study conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center , involving 1,300 psychologists who answered questions about their work with clients who had weight loss problems, concluded that emotional issues can hinder the weight loss plan .

Forty-four percent of the psychologists said they used the strategy of “understanding and managing behaviors and emotions related to weight control” because it worked very well for losing weight and not regaining it. Forty-three percent of the psychologists also cited “emotional eating” as a barrier to weight loss.

Ninety-two percent of respondents offering weight-loss treatment reported that they helped patients correct emotional problems related to weight gain. Over 70% identified cognitive behavioral therapy (problem solving, attention techniques, etc.) as an excellent weight loss strategy. In other words, cognitive behavioral therapy is useful because it helps people identify and address negative thoughts and emotions that can lead to unhealthy behaviors and interfere with achieving nutritional and physical activity goals.

The relationship between emotional intelligence and motivation

In addition, 43% of respondents also commented that “maintaining a regular exercise routine” is one of the keys to losing weight. Regarding this, there are many studies that talk about the relationship between emotional intelligence and intrinsic motivation, and Jose Maria Buceta, in his book “Psychological Variables Related to Physical and Sports Performance” explains the relationship between motivation and adherence to physical training.

On the other hand, psychologist Adrián Triglia, in an article by Psychology and Mind called “Why diets may not work”, reviews the psychological and emotional strategies proposed by Traci Mann, from the University of Minnesota, for improving adherence to the weight-loss diet, such as replacing thoughts about a cake with ones about whole-grain bread or a food with even fewer carbohydrates.

In conclusion, emotions and commitment to exercise are one of the most common challenges faced by people who want to lose weight . Many people can ruin many of the efforts they have made for a long time because of psychological issues. When these people combine emotional work with lifestyle change, the results come.