My current research interests fall under the broad umbrella of 'the quantified self' - the idea that individuals in our westernized society are increasingly collecting data on their behaviors. I began exploring this idea for my doctoral dissertation, operationalized through self-weighing, which I studied as a weight loss intervention in obese and overweight adults for my doctoral dissertation. I am currently involved in several studies which aim to: (1) describe self-weighing frequencies in community and clinical eating disorder samples, (2) experimentally test self-weighing as a technique for prevention of age-related weight gain, and (3) experimentally test self-weighing in a standard behavioral weight loss program for obese and overweight adults. Recently, collaborations with colleagues studying eating disorders have led to investigating yoga as an adjunct treatment for eating disorders. Though these behaviors - self-weighing and yoga - may seem disparate, I think of them both as representing ways of addressing weight control, the former involving a high level of quantification while the latter relies primarily on intuitive cues. I do not think the two approaches need to be opposing forces, just as I do not think the obesity and eating disorder fields need to be in opposition. Support for this view comes from observing participants employing healthful weight control or improving the way they think about their weight by merging the two approaches. Identifying individuals who can achieve their best selves with either technique - quantification or intuition - or a mix of both, and identifying those who may be adversely affected by either behavior (namely, self-weighing) are my overall goals. I also see this as a way to unite the obesity and eating disorder fields and study the overlapping behaviors that are practiced by some individuals with eating disorders, and taught to individuals with obesity. My overall vision is that working in the overlap of these fields will lead to improved quality of life (both physical and mental) for individuals with weight and eating-related issues.
Carly Pacanowski,
Dec 3, 2014, 9:53 AM