Weight control through Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT)

Updated: Apr 23, 2019

ACT was developed on the foundational framework of Relational frame theory (RFT), which explores how language functions to keep individuals stuck in painful psychological experiences. ACT, proposes an alternative to the harmful capacities of human language by combining cognitive-behavioural interventions to create psychological flexibility in people with an emphasis of recognizing verbal and cognitive traps that maintain and further emotional suffering.

One of the areas where ACT interventions have been found to have positive benefits is that of weight control. Research suggests that ACT interventions could be utilized with success or in isolation for successful weight loss outcomes (Lillies, & Kendra, 2014). In one of the strategies utilized in ACT for weight loss there is an implicit acknowledgment of feelings of hunger and desire for certain foods (Acceptance), while at the same time an observation of one’s goal of obtaining an ideal body image or size. (Values). Prioritizing between both perspectives at such moments can mean the difference between going for the extra slice of cake or chips (Action). Studies show that such strategies pursued diligently by people seeking to lose weight can have long term successful outcomes that can be maintained over time.

Lillis, J., & Kendra, E. K. (2014). Acceptance and Commitment therapy for weight control: Model, evidence and future directions. Journal of contextual behaviour science. 3(1): 1-7.

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