Weight Loss Doesn't Always Lead to Happiness

Posted on March 24, 2015

Americans buy in to the weight-loss game with billions of dollars a year - money funneled into diet programs, gym subscriptions, and unscrupulously marketed miracle pills. On network TV, the long-enduring reality show The Biggest Loser, in which overweight men and women compete to lose the highest percentage of their total weight, is now on its 16th season. And personal tales of dramatic weight loss have long captivated the public, from Subway's Jared to Marvel leading man Chris Pratt, who lost 60 pounds for his role in last summer's Guardians of the Galaxy.

The presumption is that congratulations are due when people slim down—their weight loss has surely made them happier, right?

Much of the work conducted by obesity researchers has centered around the intricacies of how and why people become obese and overweight, how and if excess weight is detrimental to health, and how to lose it. But there has also been a little exploration into how weight loss could affect the mind.

Last August, a team of researchers delved into the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), a U.K.-based dataset keeping track of people 50 years old and above, updated every two years. The team was following up on earlier population studies that had found a negative association between weight loss and depressed mood.

If valid and reproducible however, their results bring up the likelihood that weight loss in and of itself doesn't come with the fanfare often expected of it. And if weight loss isn’t making people happy, that could explain, at least in part, why many people struggle to keep weight off.

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Category(s):Happiness

Source material from The Atlantic


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