NOW here’s a novel way to lose weight — just imagine it.
A new study has revealed weight loss can be boosted more than five-fold by using the revolutionary technique.
Researchers found that overweight people who used the new Functional Imagery Training (FIT) intervention lost an average of five times more weight than those using talking therapy alone.
The technique involves people using motivational and multisensory imagery to imagine how good you would feel losing weight.
In the study participants were asked not just imagine how good it would be to slim down but also what losing weight would enable them to do that they cannot do now and what that would look, sound and smell like.
Researchers at the University of Plymouth and Queensland University of Technology in Australia compared results from 141 people using two different weight loss techniques.
Over a six-month period, FIT users shed 4.3 centimetres (1.7 inches) more from their waistline, and continued to lose weight after the intervention had finished.
Study leader Dr Linda Solbrig, of Plymouth’s school of psychology, said: ‘It’s fantastic that people lost significantly more weight on this intervention, as, unlike most studies, it provided no diet or physical activity advice or education.
‘People were completely free in their choices and supported in what they wanted to do, not what a regimen prescribed.’
The technique is based on two decades of research showing that such imagery is more strongly emotionally charged than other types of thought.
Behaviours and optional app support are used to cue imagery practice on a daily basis until it becomes second nature.
Trisha Bradbury, a study participant who was allocated to the FIT study, went from 14 stone to 12st 2lbs thanks to the technique.
She said: ‘I lost my mum at 60, and being 59 myself with a variety of health problems, my motivation was to be there for my daughter.
‘I kept thinking about wearing the dress I’d bought for my daughter’s graduation, and on days I really didn’t feel like exercising, kept picturing how I’d feel.
‘I’m so delighted with the mindset shift.’
The study was published in the International Journal of Obesity.