Background

Short-term weight loss efforts can be associated with improvements in depressive and binge eating symptoms. However, less is known about psychological functioning and long-term weight outcomes following behavioral intervention. The current study aimed to characterize psychological functioning in individuals who achieved clinically significant weight loss via behavioral intervention and examined potential differences between those who maintained vs. regained their weight loss.

Methods

Participants were 44 adults (Mean age=57.4 years; Mean BMI=33.2) who previously completed a behavioral weight loss intervention and lost at least 5% of their initial body weight. Participants completed a battery of validated psychological functioning questionnaires. Descriptive statistics, independent samples t-tests and hedge’s g were calculated to characterize and determine differences in psychological functioning in individuals who maintained vs. regained their weight loss.

Results

Psychological functioning mean scores were within clinically normal ranges, including depressive symptoms (M=3.61, SD=3.27), anxiety symptoms (M=1.70, SD=1.97), binge eating (M=9.59, SD=6.41), trait mindfulness (M=4.32, SD=.73), and emotional control (M=50.52, SD=9.30). Independent samples t-tests did not detect statistically significant differences between maintainers and regainers on psychological measures with very small to small effect sizes: depressive symptoms (t(42)=.207, p=.837, g=0.063), anxiety symptoms (t(42)=.429, p=.670, g=0.135), binge eating (t(42)=-.119, p=.906, g=0.037), trait mindfulness (t(42)=.192, p=.848, g=0.060), and emotional control (t(42)=-.682, p=.499, g=0.214).

Conclusions

Individuals who lost a clinically significant amount of weight demonstrated healthy psychological functioning, with no differences between those who maintained vs. regained weight loss. Sociodemographic factors in this sample may play a more salient role in weight loss maintenance and regain.