Innovative weight loss study provides rare opportunity for participants

Managing weight loss could become a whole lot easier after preliminary findings from Western Sydney University have found that the way we think may be associated with our ability to shed kilograms.

As part of an ongoing study, researchers are observing whether cognitive processing skills that guide the way people pursue goals, are linked with weight loss.

The study is currently recruiting new participants, who will have the rare opportunity to work one on one with a psychologist to help identify and overcome behaviours and thoughts that lead to weight gain.  Participants will also have access to a dietician to support healthy eating, and a GP to monitor biological changes.

Current general weight loss treatments are effective only in the short term," says Alice Hone, Psychologist and Research Officer at Western Sydney University.

"We believe this is because they do not target the psychological barriers that get in the way for people trying to lose weight. By conducting this study, our aim is to help support people to learn strategies they can use in their everyday life to improve their health, lose weight or maintain weight over a greater length of time."

Researchers will use cognitive and behavioural strategies to investigate whether this helps people implement healthy eating habits, exercise and other skills associated with weight loss.

Participants must be aged 18-55 with a BMI of 30 or above to clinically trial the initiative at Bankstown Campus. This will involve attending free weekly individual sessions with a psychologist over two months, followed by group weight loss sessions once a week for three months.

"We believe it is this level of support that will provide people with the best opportunity for success," says Dr Evelyn Smith, Head of the Eating Disorders and Obesity Psychology Research Clinic (EDOC) at Western Sydney University.

"Recent estimates suggest that over half of the Australian population is overweight or obese, and around 80% of people who lose weight by dieting regain the majority of it back after one year. Our research is hoping to improve these outcomes," she says.

This trial will be supported by Ramacciotti Australia and Western Sydney University.

For more information email the research team at: weightlosstrialwsu@gmail.com

(Ethics no: H11475)

ENDS.

27 June 2017

Jessica Cortis, Media Assistant