What's good about losers? Positive psychological assets in obese Australians during weight loss attempts. (#106)
Over the last 30 years, the prevalence of obesity in Australia has increased dramatically. Despite advances in pharmacological, surgical and psychosocial treatments, relapse rates are high. The relationship between weight loss failure and negative mood states, lower life satisfaction and negative health effects are well-established, however traditional medical model approaches focusing on such deficits have struggled to achieve reliable treatment gains. Creative approaches are required and positive psychology known as 'the scientific study of optimal human functioning' (Seligman, 2002) is one such approach. This study is among the first to explore the ‘lived’ experiences of the obese from a positive psychological perspective. We interviewed 22 obese Australians currently engaged in weight loss attempts and identified 5 positive themes including Life Satisfaction, Gratitude, Strengths, Optimism and Mindfulness. The presence of these positive psychological assets despite weight loss failure is encouraging. Implications for a positive psychological approach to weight loss treatment and further research are discussed.