Document Type


Publication Date



College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Sport and Exercise Psychology


Objective—To explore participant perspectives of the impact emotions have on weight loss. Design—A qualitative design gathered data through semi-structured interviews with participants in a weight management programme. The interview addresses the following research questions: (1) how do individuals working to lose weight perceive the impact emotions have on their longterm success, and (2) what strategies do more or less successful participants use to regulate their emotions? Researchers conducted and transcribed the interviews then completed content analysis to create and organise themes. Results—Two broad themes emerged through the interviews with 21 participants: emotional impact and emotional regulation. Further subthemes captured emotions blocking action toward goals, strategies for regulating emotions (e.g. exercise, food) and the need for new strategies to regulate emotions. Themes were also split in to three groups based on weight outcomes: regainer, moderate success (3–6% loss) and large success (>7% loss). More successful participants, compared to regainers, shared being aware of the impact of their emotions and made efforts to develop healthy regulation strategies. Conclusions—Emotional awareness and regulation play an important role in participant’s weight management experience. Taking time to build emotional awareness and strategies to manage emotions is important to participants in weight management.

Source Citation

Ingels JS, Zizzi S. A qualitative analysis of the role of emotions in different patterns of long-term weight loss. Psychology & Health. 2018;33(8):1014-1027. doi:10.1080/08870446.2018.1453511