Learning to love your body is much more effective than exercising alone to help you quit smoking and to lose the extra kilos that come with it, a new research has suggested.
Body image treatment often includes mirror exercises, in which women look at their reflections and instead of criticizing body parts, they focus on the aspects of their appearance that they admire.
The benefits of body image therapy came to light when researchers started out as an investigation into how exercise could impact smoking cessation in women ages 18 to 24.
First, researchers talked to 43 young women and learned that weight gain and body image were major concerns in quitting smoking.
The researchers then decided to add a body image component in the study.
"The body image component was useful, because 44 percent of participants [had] said they would go back to smoking if they gained weight," ABC News quoted study author Melissa Napolitano, PhD, clinical psychologist at the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University in Philadelphia, as saying.
The researchers found that ten percent more women in the body image class stuck with quitting smoking after 1 week and lost more weight than the exercise group, as well.
"Using something like body image skills training can be helpful for smoking cessation, because it provides skills and tools to help people feel better about themselves and not turn to smoking for weight control," Napolitano said.
The study was presented recently at the Society for Behavioral Medicine's annual meeting in Montreal.