Emotional eating may contribute to variability in weight loss and may warrant specialized treatment, although no randomized studies of specialized treatments exist for individuals who engage in emotional eating. This pilot study tested a new weight loss intervention for individuals who emotionally eat and compared it to the standard behavioral weight loss treatment (SBT). 79 predominantly female (95 %), predominantly African American (79.7 %) individuals who emotionally eat (BMI = 36.2 ± 4.1 kg/m2) were randomized to (1) a new enhanced behavioral treatment (EBT), incorporating skills for managing emotions and emotional eating or (2) a SBT. Primary outcomes were weight and emotional eating at 20 weeks. Weight decreased significantly in both groups (SBT: −5.77 kg (−7.49, −4.04); EBT: −5.83 kg (−7.57, −4.09)), with no significant between-group differences. Similar results were produced for emotional eating. Results suggest that SBT may be effective for reducing weight and emotional eating in individuals who emotionally eat, and that adding emotional-eating specific strategies may not provide additional benefits beyond those produced by SBT interventions in the short-term.
Registration site: www.clinicaltrials.gov.
Registration number: NCT02055391.