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Food School: Psychology-Based Weight-Loss Plans Help You Lose Weight and Keep it Off

Top10.com Staff
Food School: Psychology-Based Weight-Loss Plans Help You Lose Weight and Keep it Off
As anyone who’s ever tried it will tell you, there’s more to losing weight than simply making a New Year’s resolution and buying rice cakes. The not-so-hidden secret to weight loss is that there’s a huge psychological factor in play.

Anyone can join a gym or commit themselves to a new diet. But following through requires a more abstract set of tools that has as much to do with mindset as it does shiny workout machines. Psychological factors such as will-power, motivation, and self-discipline are equally important to successfully losing weight. 

There’s a huge variety of weight-loss programs out there, but more and more of them are focusing on the psychological element of weight loss. While they still offer the more tangible and necessary essentials, such as diet plans and exercise routines, these programs are integrating psychological awareness into their approach, providing a fuller spectrum of tools to help users achieve their goals. 

Here’s a look at two new psychological-based weight-loss plans that are offering a new way to look at eating. 


You may not go into a weight-loss program expecting to learn deep insights about yourself, but after participating in Noom’s groundbreaking weight loss program, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it before.  

Noom takes an innovative approach to weight loss by incorporating psychological research into the program. Don’t worry--you won’t be reading textbooks. Like any good dieting program, Noom offers actionable tools necessary for helping you lose weight, including diet tracking, exercise monitoring, and personal coaching. But it supplements those with an invitation to delve into--and learn from--the psychological factors that contribute to your eating habits and lifestyle choices. 

A few questions you’ll explore while undergoing Noom’s program include:

  • Why am I drawn to certain foods?
  • What influences my eating behaviors?
  • Where do cravings come from?
  • What is the relationship between the mind and appetite?  

From there, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to act on the insights you’ve gained and incorporate them into a successful dieting plan. The Noom program begins with a questionnaire that gathers information about your health, lifestyle, living atmosphere, and goals. These prove critical to the next step, which is productively incorporating the insights into a tailored plan that’s designed to play off your strengths and mitigate your personal obstacles. 

Noom offers these services to help you embark on a successful diet plan:

  • PhD’s from Harvard, Yale, and Oxford at the helm
  • Coaches to guide you through the program
  • Tools for logging your meals and tracking your food intake
  • Daily articles and resources on topics such as will-power and food psychology
  • Exercise logging technology
  • Sample menus
  • Community participation 

Noom Noom Learn More

Psycho-Spiritual Wellness 

Psycho-Spiritual Wellness takes a more radical approach to dieting than Noom, operating on the idea that psychology is not merely one component to dieting--but the only factor. 

Developed by coach Kari Dahlgren, psycho-spiritual wellness posits that overeating is not a matter of cravings, will-power, or discipline, but solely “a feelings-problem and a beliefs-problem.” To that end, the program strives to help you become aware of psychological and spiritual triggers that lead to your compulsive eating habits. 

Those looking for more traditional techniques such as dietary tips and routines may want to look elsewhere. But for those who have found little success with standard diets will find a novel and interesting approach that encourages you to listen to your body, develop emotional awareness, and make critical connections between your mood and your appetite. 

The psycho-spiritual approach utilizes what Dahlgren calls her “Stop, Drop, and Feel” technique, which includes:

  • Stop yourself in the middle of a food binge
  • Center yourself in your physical body
  • Take inventory of your feelings and emotions
  • Name your emotions
  • Create space between you and your compulsions
  • Don’t give up food that your body desires 
  • Continue to use the SDF method while eating the foods you love

Dahlgren’s method is less reliant on food science and nutritional research, something she readily admits. It’s less structured and has places less limitations on you than other, more traditional methods, which some may find too lax but others may find liberating. The coach outlines her plan in her book, “On Psycho-Spiritual Wellness: A Path to Feeling Normal Around Food,” and offers personal coaching through her website. 

The New School of Weight Loss

How much of a role does the mind play in our eating habits? The answers are obvious to anyone who’s tried to lose weight, only to succumb to problems of will-power or self-discipline. A new breed of dieting programs is starting to acknowledge this not-so-hidden fact, merging the brain and body into techniques that encourage thinking about your mind and body’s relationship with food. From highly researched, intricately structured programs like Noom, which merge psychological insights and dietary science, to belief-based approaches like Psycho-Spiritual Wellness, this new school of dieting focuses on a fuller-spectrum approach to helping its users lose weight and keep it off.

Top10.com Staff
Top10.com's editorial staff is a professional team of editors and writers with dozens of years of experience covering consumer, financial and business products and services.

The information on this site is based on research, but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new diet plan, we recommend consulting with a physician or other professional healthcare provider. Results may vary based on various health factors, individual weight loss plans and adherence to the meal plan.