Moderation of Mood in the Transfer of Self-Regulation From an Exercise to an Eating Context: Short- and Long-Term Effects on Dietary Change and Obesity in Women

Academic Article


  • Background: Behavioral obesity treatments require an improved understanding of the dynamics of associated psychological changes. This study aimed to clarify previous research on self-regulatory skills’ transfer from an exercise to eating context, effects of mood on self-regulatory strength, and related effects on a targeted eating behavior. Methods: Women with obesity participated in a yearlong community-based cognitive-behavioral treatment that first focused on self-regulatory skills development for exercise maintenance, then use of similar self-regulatory skills and improved mood to facilitate short- and long-term increases in fruit/vegetable intake and reduction in weight. Groups were based on high (≥ 5% of baseline weight; n = 51) and low (< 5%; n = 49) weight reduction 2 years post-initiation. Results: Improvements in eating self-regulation and fruit/vegetable intake were greatest in the high weight-reduction group. Using lagged variable analyses to assess directionality, mood significantly moderated the prediction of eating self-regulation change by exercise self-regulation change. The effect of increased exercise self-regulation on fruit/vegetable intake change over 6 months was significantly mediated by eating self-regulation change. Participants’ initial weight moderated the effect of eating self-regulation change on fruit/vegetable intake. Change in eating self-regulation over 6 months predicted self-regulation at 24 months. Short-term change in fruit/vegetable intake predicted weight change over 2 years through its association with long-term fruit/vegetable consumption. Conclusions: Findings supported the expected carry-over of self-regulation from an exercise to eating context, mood effects on self-regulatory strength, and associations of exercise with eating and weight changes via effects on psychological variables. Results have implications for sustained effects associated with behavioral treatments.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Annesi JJ
  • Start Page

  • 323
  • End Page

  • 328
  • Volume

  • 26
  • Issue

  • 3