Weight loss can be boosted with new mental imagery technique

Overweight people lost an average of five times more weight using Functional Imagery Training (FIT).

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Overweight individuals who utilized another motivational intercession called Functional Imagery Training (FIT) lost a normal of five times more weight than those utilizing talking treatment alone. Users of FIT lost 4.3cm more around their waist circumference in six months – and continued to lose weight after the intervention had finished.

Also, clients of FIT lost 4.3cm more around their abdomen outline in a half year – and kept on shedding pounds after the mediation had wrapped up.

The exploration included 141 members, who were dispensed either to FIT or Motivational Interviewing (MI). The latter is a system that sees an instructor bolster somebody to create, feature and verbalize their need or inspiration for change, and their explanations behind needing to change.

FIT goes above and beyond than MI, as it makes utilization of multisensory imagery to investigate these progressions by encouraging customers how to inspire and hone motivational imagery themselves. Regular practices and discretionary application support are utilized to signal imagery practice until the point when it turns into a psychological propensity.

Most extreme contact time was four long periods of individual discussion, and neither one of the groups got any extra dietary counselor data.

The study showed how after six months people who used the FIT intervention lost an average of 4.11kg, compared with an average of 0.74kg among the MI group.

After 12 months – six months after the intervention had finished – the FIT group continued to lose weight, with an average of 6.44kg lost compared with 0.67kg in the MI group.

Dr Solbrig, who completed the work as part of a PhD funded by The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) South West Peninsula, said: “It’s fantastic that people lost significantly more weight on this intervention, as, unlike most studies, it provided no diet/physical activity advice or education. People were completely free in their choices and supported in what they wanted to do, not what a regimen prescribed.”

“Most people agree that in order to lose weight, you need to eat less and exercise more, but in many cases, people simply aren’t motivated enough to heed this advice – however much they might agree with it. So FIT comes in with the key aim of encouraging someone to come up with their own image of what change might look and feel like to them, how it might be achieved and kept up, even when challenges arise.”

We started by taking people through an exercise about a lemon. We asked them to imagine seeing it, touching it, juicing it, drinking the juice and juice accidentally squirting in their eye, to emphasize how emotional and tight to our physical sensations imagery is. From there we are able to encourage them to fully imagine and embrace their own goals. Not just ‘imagine how good it would be to lose weight’ but, for example, ‘what would lose weight enable you to do that you can’t do now? What would that look/sound / smell like?’, and encourage them to use all of their senses.”

“As well as being delighted by the success of the study in the short term, there are very few studies that document weight loss past the end of treatment, so to see that people continued to lose weight despite not having any support shows the sustainability and effectiveness of this intervention.”

Trisha Bradbury was one of the participants allocated to the FIT study said, “I lost my mum at 60, and being 59 myself with a variety of health problems, my motivation was to be there for my daughter. I kept thinking about wearing the dress I’d bought for my daughter’s graduation, and on days I really didn’t feel like exercising, kept picturing how I’d feel. I’ve gone from 14 stone to 12 stone 2 and have managed to lower the dosage I need for my blood pressure tablets. I’d still like to lose a touch more, but I’m so delighted with the mindset shift.”

Professor University of Plymouth, is one of the co-creators of FIT, and she explains: “FIT is based on two decades of research showing that mental imagery is more strongly emotionally charged than other types of thought. It uses imagery to strengthen people’s motivation and confidence to achieve their goals and teaches people how to do this for themselves, so they can stay motivated even when faced with challenges. We were very excited to see that our intervention achieved exactly what we had hoped for and that it helped our participants achieve their goals and most importantly to maintain them.”

The study is reported in the International Journal of Obesity.