Self-regulation foci and mood affect healthy and unhealthy eating behaviours differently in successful weight-loss treatment participants

James J. Annesi, Kennesaw State University


An increased understanding of how self‐regulation and mood affects both healthy and unhealthy eating behaviours is required to improve weight‐loss intervention architectures. Women with obesity (N = 54, MBMI = 34.80 kg/m2), who obtained ≥5% weight loss over 12 months (M = −9.01 kg) within a community‐based behavioural weight‐loss treatment, were assessed. Improvements in exercise‐ and eating‐focused self‐regulation (over 3 and 6 months), and the consumption of fruits/vegetables and sweets (over 6 and 12 months), were each significant. Multiple regression analyses indicated that changes in (a) aggregated (exercise‐focused + eating‐focused) self‐regulation, (b) eating‐focused self‐regulation alone and (c) eating self‐regulation that carried over from exercise‐focused self‐regulation, each significantly predicted fruit/vegetable consumption changes (R2 = .15–.28). Entry of overall mood did not significantly increase those models' predictive strength. Conversely, mood was the most salient predictor of change in sweets intake. There were significant inverse relationships between changes in fruits/vegetables and sweets consumption. Implications for self‐regulation theory and treatment improvements were suggested.