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People May Lose Five Times More With Functional Imagery Therapy (FIT)

A recent study suggests that using a new motivational intervention called Functional Imagery Training (FIT) may help overweight people lose an average five times more than talking therapy alone.


Participants in the study included 141 people who were given either FIT or Motivational Interviewing (MI). Maximum contact time was four hours of individual consultation. None of the participants received any additional dietary advice or information. Participants were assessed at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months.


Motivational interviewing consists of seeing a counselor to help a person develop, highlight, and verbalize their need or motivation for change, as well as their reasons for wanting to change. FIT, on the other hand, uses multisensory imagery to explore changes by teaching clients how to bring up and practice motivational imagery on their own. It includes daily behaviors and an optional app support that helps cue imagery until it becomes a cognitive habit for the participants.


At the conclusion of the study, the FIT group lost an average 9 lbs., compared with 1.1 lbs. in the MI group. Six months after the end of the study, the FIT group had continued to lose weight, with an average weight loss of 14.3 lbs., compared with 1.7 lbs. in the MI group. They also noted an average loss of 3 1/2 inches around the waists of the FIT group, compared to ½ an inch in the MI group.


Researchers from the University of Plymouth in the UK led the study. It was published on September 5, 2018, in the International Journal of Obesity.

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