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Int J Eat Disord. 1994 Jul;16(1):83-8.

The last supper: emotional determinants of pretreatment weight fluctuation in obese binge eaters.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305.


The tendency of some dieters to overeat and gain weight prior to beginning a diet is well known. We examined whether emotional variables might account for this phenomenon among a group of 86 obese individuals preparing to begin a treatment program for binge eating and weight loss. Whereas subjects' baseline mood state (anger, anxiety, and depression) did not influence pretreatment weight variability, the self-reported tendency to overeat in response to specific negative emotions had a significant influence. Specifically, subjects who characteristically overeat in response to anger and depression gained weight pretreatment, whereas subjects who overeat in response to anxiety lost weight. The findings are discussed in relation to the influence of specific cognitive and emotional responses to the prospect of dieting.

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