Changing the way you speak could help you lose more weight

Changing the way you speak could help you lose more weight

Concept of weight loss before and after

The authors found that using analytical language as opposed to present-focused language was linked to better weight loss and reduced risk of giving up in dialogues about pursuing a goal, such as when discussing attempts to pursue a goal with a coach.

According to new research, people who used analytical language saw greater weight reduction and lower dropout rates

Millions of people around the world struggle with obesity, which is linked to a dramatically elevated risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disease. According to a study by Annabell Ho of Noom, Inc. in New York, USA, recently published in the journal PLOS digital health, using analytical language when setting a weight loss goal was associated with greater weight loss success and reduced risk of quitting.

The results of behavioral interventions used to treat obesity vary considerably, and some patients leave the program before receiving the full intervention. However, little is known about the causes leading to attrition or weight loss. Researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of 1,350 Noom Weight users who paid to participate in a 16-week program to better understand how language may impact weight loss and program attrition.

Each participant set a starting goal and spoke with a trainer to discuss their specific weight loss goals in more depth. The researchers then used an automated text-analysis algorithm to analyze the language, and they used the program’s activity data to determine weight loss as well as weight loss and dropout rate.

The authors found that in goal-oriented dialogues, such as discussing attempts to achieve a goal with a coach, the use of analytical language as opposed to present-focused language was associated with greater weight loss and a lower likelihood of quitting.

Despite the potential usefulness of these findings, the research did not examine other relevant factors, such as the influence of level of education or English proficiency on the language of goal setting. To determine precisely why analytic language is beneficial, future research should focus on the variables that mediate the relationship between language and outcomes.

According to the authors, “our results are among the first to identify the previously understudied language of individuals as relevant and informative for understanding weight loss and dropout. This raises directions for future research to improve the development of interventions and to determine whether language is informative in other lifestyle behavior change interventions.

Ho adds, “Using analytical language, such as analyzing what matters and why, predicts more weight loss and less program attrition on a numerical weight loss program. On the other hand, using more self- or present-focused words like “I” and “me” predict less weight loss and more attrition. »

Reference: “Goal Language Is Associated with Attrition and Weight Loss in a Numerical Program: Observational Study” by Annabell Suh Ho, Heather Behr, E. Siobhan Mitchell, Qiuchen Yang, Jihye Lee, Christine N. May and Andreas Michaelides, June 16, 2022 , PLOS digital health.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pdig.0000050

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