Weight acceptance in people with obesity

Meyer, L. B., et al. (2018). (Dis-)solving the Weight Problem in Binge-Eating Disorder: Systemic Insights From Three Treatment Contexts With Weight Stability, Weight Loss, and Weight Acceptance. Qualitative health research. First published online: April 11, 2018.

Abstract. Binge-eating disorder (BED) is a severe eating disorder strongly associated with obesity. Treatments struggle to provide safe and effective ways of addressing weight in a BED context. This study explored a two-phased treatment for BED developed at a major out-patient eating disorder service in Denmark.

The study used interviews and participant observations to gain insight into experiences and processes related to weight and body issues in three treatment contexts that addressed weight stability, weight acceptance, and weight loss. Using systems theory, the study proposed a relational weight problem that embeds feelings of non-acceptance due to weight, a merge of weight and identity, and an internalized body- and weight-critical gaze of others.

Contrary to critical claims that weight acceptance discourages people with obesity from engaging in weight loss efforts, this study suggests that acceptance and a disentanglement of weight and identity are prerequisites for weight loss for this group.