City Research Online

Living in a changed body: insights into the experiences of those reaching their weight loss goal

Ropner, V. (2020). Living in a changed body: insights into the experiences of those reaching their weight loss goal. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This Counselling Psychology DPsych portfolio comprises of three parts: A research project, a publishable paper and a clinical case study (excluded for data protection reasons). Throughout all three parts are threaded the concepts of embodiment and nourishment.

The research project is an Interpretative Phenomenological study about the experience of reaching goal weight after significant weight loss, specifically women who have lost at least a quarter of bodyweight and reached goal weight within the last six months. Looking at what it is like to experience living in a changing body. It includes a visual element where the participants were asked to bring in either an object or photograph, something that they could talk about which reminded them of their experience of reaching goal weight and what that meant to them. This was done because often the stories around weight loss can become a somewhat rehearsed narrative and it was thought that this could be a way to circumvent that and hopefully access richer data.

The publishable paper has been written on the first superordinate theme of the research, Do fat lives matter? This decision was made because of the shocking nature of weight bias in the research landscape, and the way in which the participants described their lives when they were fat, as not being equal, and being nothing. I felt a calling to bring attention to this once I had finished the research, because of the prevalence and the severe consequences, research shows that weight bias discrimination is rife in society (Puhl and Brownell, 2001). It also suggests that weight bias is the bias that has the strongest association with early mortality, more so than any other bias (Sutin, Stephan & Terracciano, 2015). This appalled me and made me feel that it was important to write about what I found.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
Date available in CRO: 19 Mar 2021 17:16
Date deposited: 19 March 2021
Text - Accepted Version
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