LIVING
08/10/2014 11:08 EDT | Updated 08/10/2014 11:59 EDT

Weight Loss, Dieting May Not Make You Happier: Study

Jupiterimages via Getty Images

The diet may start tomorrow, but if it doesn't, it's not the end of the world. Really.

A new British study surveyed 1,979 overweight or obese adults over a four-year period and discovered possible connections between weight loss and person's mental and emotional well-being. The University College London reports participants who lost five per cent of their original body weight were 52 per cent more likely to become depressed than those who stayed within five per cent of their original size.

The respondents who successfully dieted, however, did show improved health and a drop in their respective blood pressure levels. However, nearly half of this group found this novel control over their life's events to result in additional stress.

In a statement, researchers insisted there are medical benefits to healthy weight loss, but that it does not automatically improve one's mental or emotional state.

"Health-care professionals should monitor patients' mental as well as physical health when recommending or responding to weight loss, and offer support where necessary," said the University College London researchers in a press release, as per Canoe.

"People who are trying to lose weight should be aware of the challenges and not be afraid to seek support, whether from friends, family or health-care professionals."

Lead author Sarah Jackson continued to defend the study's findings after its publication in the PLOS One journal.

We do not want to discourage anyone from trying to lose weight, which has tremendous physical benefits, but people should not expect weight loss to instantly improve all aspects of life. Aspirational advertising by diet brands may give people unrealistic expectations about weight loss. They often promise instant life improvements, which may not be borne out in reality for many people. People should be realistic about weight loss and be prepared for the challenges...Resisting the ever-present temptations of unhealthy food in modern society takes a mental toll, as it requires considerable willpower and may involve missing out on some enjoyable activities. Anyone who has ever been on a diet would understand how this could affect wellbeing.”

But this isn't a completely novel concept. Back in October, clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior spoke to Women's Health magazine about dieting, and said, “It’s not the external achievement of some goal that’s going to make us happy.”

“You think that will automatically change your life in some meaningful way, but it could be that your life pretty much remains the same.”

Weight Loss Success Stories