Psychological effects of weight loss and regain: a prospective evaluation

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1996 Aug;64(4):752-7. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.64.4.752.


This study prospectively assessed the psychological effects of weight loss and regain (i.e., weight cycling) in obese women. Measures of mood, binge eating, restraint, disinhibition, and hunger were obtained from 55 participants at baseline, after 6 months of treatment, and 58 months posttreatment. Women lost 21.1 +/- 8.4 kg after 6 months of treatment but were 3.6 +/- 10.9 kg above baseline weight at the time of the follow-up. Contrary to expectations, after this 21-kg cycle of weight loss and regain, women reported significant improvements in mood and binge eating, as well as reductions in hunger and disinhibition. Restraint was unchanged from baseline to follow-up. These data suggest that weight loss and regain are not associated with long-term adverse psychological effects. The findings also confirm earlier reports of significant weight regain after treatment and underscore the need for research to improve the maintenance of weight loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation
  • Weight Loss*