Reduces negative relationship between impulsivity and weight loss

Mantzios, M., & Wilson, J. C. (2013). Moderating the negative relationship between impulsivity and weight loss through self-compassion. Appetite, 71, 481.

Abstract. Recent research suggested that self-compassion positively supports and explains mindfulness. One of the many benefits of mindfulness is assisting with impulse control, which in turn, supports people who want to regulate their weight. While such research shows promise, a major concern is that, occasionally, everyone fails to resist temptation. A way to potentially deal with such failure is by enhancing self-compassion (which includes mindfulness), and may propose a kinder approach to deal with failures in impulse control.

This study explored, through linear regressions and moderation analysis, whether (a) self-compassion positively explains weight loss, and (b) if self-compassion moderates the negative relationship between impulsivity and weight loss. University students (n=141); 66 males and 75 females), who expressed an interest to lose weight by responding to an advertisement, completed questionnaires in self-compassion and impulsivity. Also, height and weight were measured at baseline and after 5 weeks to record any actual weight differences.

Results indicated that the model of self-compassion and impulsivity significantly explained weight loss. Further, self-compassion significantly reduced the negative relationship between impulsivity and weight loss. The findings suggest that self-compassion may help people eat less and weaken the negative effect of impulsivity on weight loss. Noticeable limitations (i.e., the student sample, correlational design, and medium effect size) suggest that more research is required.

While these preliminary findings of self-compassion and weight regulation appear promising, it is a topic that is fairly new and should be explored further in future research, ideally by employing compassion-based interventions and in conjunction with mindfulness.