Motivation in Weight Loss

Motivation in Weight Loss

While we may find it hard to relate to the loss of motivation a 200 million dollar a year contract player might experience after his first year, we can probably all relate to the motivation needed when we want to lose weight.

Recruiting participants for a 16-week weight loss intervention, researchers at the University of Kentucky and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examined what many of us will recognize as two types of motivation we have likely used on ourselves to lose weight.

Autonomous motivation, otherwise known as intrinsic motivation, describes our desire to lose weight for personal reasons, such as feeling better, performing better, and becoming healthier. On the other hand, sometimes we are pressured by those around us to lose weight, or feel guilty if we don’t lose weight – which is described as extrinsic or controlled motivation.

To measure the 2 types of motivation, researchers used a Treatment Self-Regulation Questionnaire and measured participants’ motivation for weight loss at baseline and at 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks. Study participants were then asked to record their food intake, exercise, and body weight through an online self-monitoring system weekly throughout the study.

So who fared better, those with high levels of autonomous motivation, or high levels of controlled motivation? While the researchers found that the majority of participants had a significant increase in autonomous and controlled motivation between baseline and 4 weeks, the group that went on to achieve a 5% weight loss sustained their autonomous motivation between 4 and 16 weeks, while the group that was less successful experienced a significant decrease in autonomous and controlled motivation over time (Webber et al., 2010).

Interestingly, autonomous motivation at 4 weeks was found to be a significant predictor of adherence to self-monitoring and weight loss, as the authors found a positive correlation between weight loss at 4 weeks and higher levels of autonomous motivation especially when compared to participants who had higher levels of controlled motivation. Furthermore, it seemed the self-monitoring and autonomous motivation worked in a positive feedback loop where the more participants monitored their behavior, the more motivated they became, and the more weight they lost (Webber et al., 2010).

Lead author, Kate Webber explains, “It appears that the time period between 4 and 8 weeks may be an important window for weight control programs to consider using techniques designed to enhance autonomous motivation, including giving more intense support or different types of interventions, such as activities to enhance autonomous motivation or contact from a weight-loss counselor in the form of e-mails, phone calls, or face-to-face meetings. These findings suggest that building motivation may be an effective means of promoting adherence and weight loss” (Webber, 2010).

Another study found that intrinsic motivation also helps promote an important part of any weight loss routine – maintaining an exercise routine.

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Motivation: Igniting the Process of Change

MotivationMotivation: Igniting the Process of Change is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that explores how we can tap into, ignite, and harness our motivation to create lasting change.

Motivation today is one of the most coveted traits, thought to underlie our business success, athletic prowess, and even weight loss. But just how do we motivate ourselves? How do we ignite and harness our own motivation to achieve our goals? How do we call upon our motivation when we need it the most? And how do we keep motivation alive to create the lives we want? This course will explore these questions, and many more.

We will begin with a discussion about why clinicians need to know this information and how this information can be helpful in working with clients. Next, we will look at the research behind motivation, decipher between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, and explore the roots of what keeps us motivated now, and over time.

Lastly, we will learn the powerful skills needed to create a spark – that is to teach your clients to ignite and harness their own motivation to face fears, make decisions, take action, and create lasting change. Exercises you can use with clients are included. Course #31-03 | 2018 | 46 pages | 20 posttest questions

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Our online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

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