Doctors and scientists will rightly note that, in every study ever done on weight loss, 100% of participants who consumed fewer calories than they burned lost weight. Exercise helps in multiple ways, but in weight loss it helps burn the calories.

A survey of psychologists finds they believe something additional; they say dieters should pay attention to the role emotions play in weight gain and loss if they hope to succeed in the physical two. The survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center asked 1,328 psychologists how they dealt with clients' weight and weight loss challenges.  306 of the respondents provide weight loss counseling. 

The online poll was conducted in September, 2012 and was designed by the Consumer Reports National Research Center in partnership with psychologists provided by the American Psychological Association. Survey participants were randomly selected from the American Psychological Association's membership file. The margin of error was +/- 3 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level. 45% of the sample was male, 55% female and the median age was 59 years old. 

44% of the psychologists polled considered "understanding and managing the behaviors and emotions related to weight management" as essential for addressing weight loss with their clients. 43% invoked the recently popular "emotional eating" barrier to weight loss. "Maintaining a regular exercise schedule" was cited by 43 percent and "making proper food choices in general" was listed as important by 28 percent. Behaviors and emotions related to eating were both key, indicating that to psychologists the two go together. 

92% of the 306 respondents who provide weight loss counseling reported helping a client "address underlying emotional issues related to weight gain." Over 70% identified cognitive therapy, problem-solving and mindfulness as "excellent" or "good" weight loss strategies.

In addition, motivational strategies, keeping behavioral records and goal-setting were also important in helping clients to lose weight and keep it off, according to survey results. Cognitive therapy helps people identify and address negative thoughts and emotions that can lead to unhealthy behaviors. Mindfulness allows thoughts and emotions to come and go without judging them, and instead concentrate on being aware of the moment. 

Published in Consumer Reports