A new study finds that we can be happy with the prospect of losing more weight.
The findings, published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, are based on a series of studies in which participants were asked to think about a particular weight loss plan.
Participants were given either an idea for a weight loss program or a simple list of ideas.
In the initial group, for example, the participant might suggest a program that would allow them to lose 10 pounds, or even a program in which they would eat more healthy foods.
The next group would suggest that they should lose 1 to 3 pounds, with each weight loss adding about 3 percent to their weight loss.
The results, published online March 25 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, show that participants who thought about weight loss plans actually had a slightly better chance of achieving the desired weight loss goals than participants who didn’t think about weight-loss plans at all.
For example, in the group that thought about their weight-gain plans, about one in five participants actually lost weight, compared with about one-third of participants who weren’t asked about weight changes.
But when asked about a weight- loss plan that would involve more time and effort than a typical meal plan, about half of participants in the control group actually lost the weight they wanted, while about one out of four participants in this group lost more than their weight.
Participant and group differences in weight-related outcomes were also shown.
In one study, participants who read about the idea that a meal plan is the best way to lose weight were less likely to start a new diet or exercise program.
Participating participants were also less likely than those in the non-thinking group to think that a healthy diet or activity program could help them lose weight.
In another study, the researchers found that the more time participants spent thinking about their goals, the more they were willing to sacrifice for them.
In this study, for instance, participants were told that the most important thing in their life right now was to lose 5 pounds, compared to two days later they were told they were losing 4 pounds, and so on.
Participators in the thinking group also tended to make more sacrifices than participants in either the control or non-talking group, as well as spend more time on tasks such as counting calories, working out and eating.
The study suggests that these “rewarding behaviors” might be what lead people to believe that they can be successful with weight loss and reduce their eating habits in the process.
“This study helps to explain why people tend to underestimate the value of these rewards and overestimate their impact on their weight,” said lead author Rachael J. Reiss, a clinical psychologist at the University of Southern California.
“We are not suggesting that the reward system can’t be used to help people reduce their weight, but we are saying that people need to be aware of the importance of rewarding behaviors when they are working towards weight loss.”
Participants in the eating-based group were also more likely to eat more than those who were asked about the importance and value of exercise and social interaction.
Participation in a weight control group is important, but it does not mean that participants are actually losing weight, Reiss said.
In fact, the participants who were given more time to think did indeed lose more weight, and in fact, they were more likely than participants given no guidance to lose more than they initially planned.
Reiss said the findings suggest that “rewards can have a powerful influence on behavior,” and that “even people who are highly motivated to lose the weight are not likely to lose it completely.”