The role of values, acceptance, and
mindfulness strategies in long term weight
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a psychological therapy shown to help develop and maintain weight-related healthy habits. ACT calls attention to values based actions (i.e., taking part in behaviours that are deeply important to you), mindfulness (i.e., staying present in the here and now and not judging or reacting to your actions or behaviour), acceptance (i.e., willingness to experience uncomfortable or difficult thoughts and feelings, in order to take part in the behaviour important to you) and self-compassion (i.e., treating yourself with kindness and understanding when you take a detour from the behaviour that is important to you).
In this pilot study, we tested whether an 8-week telephone based coaching program would be a useful tool in improving the health outcomes of those Nova Scotians who underwent bariatric surgery. We chose to deliver the program via phone to increase accessibility to services particularly in rural areas of Nova Scotia. And we chose a “coaching” format instead of therapy in order to train non-psychologists to deliver the program and thereby build capacity. We looked to see if our project is effective in improving multiple important outcomes such as reduced weight re-gain, psychological well-being, and quality of life. If the project is successful, we may be able to offer a lower cost, sustainable, accessible program and thereby improve the quality of life and health of or Nova Scotians living with obesity.