Ain’t no mountain high enough? Setting high weight loss goals predict effort and short-term weight loss

E. de Vet, R.M.A. Nelissen, M. Zeelenberg, D.T.D. de Ridder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Although psychological theories outline that it might be beneficial to set more challenging goals, people attempting to lose weight are generally recommended to set modest weight loss goals. The present study explores whether the amount of weight loss individuals strive for is associated with more positive psychological and behavioral outcomes. Hereto, 447 overweight and obese participants trying to lose weight completed two questionnaires with a 2-month interval. Many participants set goals that could be considered unrealistically high. However, higher weight loss goals did not predict dissatisfaction but predicted more effort in the weight loss attempt, as well as more self-reported short-term weight loss when baseline commitment and motivation were controlled for.
Keywords: commitment, effort, goal setting, motivation, nonclinical sample, self-efficacy, weight loss
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-647
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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