Subjects lost average of 13 lbs in 9 weeks

Most overweight people will insist they found it easier to quit smoking (or other bad habits), than to lose weight and keep it off.

There are many weight loss methods out there. Some of them —like going to the gym or cutting back on carbs— produce short term results. But over time the pounds come rushing back… doubled.

Following a study (Foyert, Kennedy, 1971) conducted at Florida State University, researchers insist there is a solution with long-lasting results.

The Science: Aversion Conditioning successfully helps 100% of overweight participants lose weight, and maintain weight loss after 48 weeks

In a scientific study (Foyert, Kennedy, 1971), researchers from Florida State University took a group of overweight persons and used aversion conditioning to help them lose weight.

The researchers wanted to observe what would happen when they paired a pleasurable stimulus (the smell of a favorite food) with an unpleasant one (a noxious smell), and how this would affect eating behavior.

Two groups of participants took part in the experiment. All participants were assessed by a physician and defined as “overweight” i.e. at least 10 per cent above their ideal weight.

The first group —the “aversion” group— were made to hold their favorite foods, smell them and imagine eating them. Immediately afterwards, they were made to inhale noxious odors such as pure skunk oil.

The second group —the “control” group— did not undergo aversion conditioning. However, they were part of the Take-Off-Pounds-Responsibly weight reduction club. They attended the weekly meetings regularly and weight loss was an important goal in their life.

The Results: Aversion Conditioning outperforms Willpower by 13X

While weight loss was an important goal for both groups, their results after just 9 weeks of treatment were DRASTICALLY different.

After 9 weeks, the participants who received aversion conditioning had lost an average of 13.33 lbs.

On the other hand, the members of the “control group” who relied purely on willpower, had lost an average of just 1.00 lbs after 9 weeks.

Aversion conditioning proved to be 13X more effective than willpower alone, even for people who had a clear goal of losing weight, and who received support through weekly Take-Off-Pounds-Responsibly weight reduction club meetings.

Results persisted even after 48 weeks

Even more astonishing, after 48 weeks the “aversion” group had maintained their weight loss results, averaging a loss of 9.17lbs.

The control group? After 48 weeks they had gone up 1.33 lbs!

Aversion Therapy vs Obesity Experiment Results Graph
(Foyert, Kennedy, 1971)


Foreyt, J. P., & Kennedy, W. A. (1971, 12). Treatment of overweight by aversion therapy. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 9(1), 29-34. doi: 10.1016/0005-7967(71)90033-7

One thought on “Subjects lost average of 13 lbs in 9 weeks

  1. Despite being significantly overweight, I generally make good food choices in regard to shopping and preparation. However, I fall prey to emotional eating that is not mindful. This phenomenon has lead to extremes that negate days of good eating behavior. The opportunity to be consistently assisted when impulses arise promises a much greater chance of success than going it alone.

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