Living with Obesity

  • Living with obesity is a journey that often involves facing challenges. In a world that can sometimes be judgemental and stigmatising it is important to understand that obesity is a complex condition. It is influenced by various factors such as genetics, environment, individual health circumstances and is not defined solely by a number on a scale. 
  • Previously it was thought that a person’s weight was determined by how much food they ate and how much energy they used. We are now aware that this is a over simplistic and unhelpful way to look at living with obesity. 

 The Obesity Society created the image below to show the many factors that can contribute to obesity. Many of these factors are either partially or completely outside of a person’s control.

Welcome to our website pages. We are the Psychology Specialty that work within Fife Adult Weight Management Service. We know that living with obesity in addition to the usual stresses in life, can be especially hard. We are a dedicated, enthusiastic and compassionate team of psychologists who work with people who are referred to the Fife Adult Weight Management Service. We also hope that information on these pages will be beneficial to people who are living with obesity and are not within the Fife Adult Weight Management Service.

When living with obesity is significantly impacting on your quality of life, you may benefit from some extra support. Our Psychology Service can work with people to support a number of concerns including:

  • Low mood / depression / lack of motivation 
  • Difficult relationship with food
  • Binge eating disorder / emotional eating / secret eating
  • Low self-esteem 
  • The impact of living with stigma 
  • Other concerns linked to living with obesity

If you think you may need further support in any of the areas listed above please contact your GP.

We all have a relationship with food, some people's relationship with food may be more difficult for many different reasons. Difficult relationships with food can look different for each person but you may recognise some of the examples below; 

  • Binge Eating – Episodes of eating large amounts of food in a short period of time with a loss of sense of control. Some people may meet the criteria for Binge Eating Disorder.  If you think you may have Binge Eating Disorder seek help from your GP. 
  • Emotional Eating – Using food as the main way to cope with emotions.
  • Yo-Yo Dieting – Repeated cycles of weight loss and weight regain, often associated with extreme or restrictive diets. This can negatively impact metabolism and contribute to long-term weight gain.

Unhealthy weight control – extreme measures such as fasting, restricting, excessive exercise or laxative use. This can disrupt normal eating patterns and may lead to unhealthy weight fluctuations.

The relationship between emotions and weight can be complex. Emotional factors such as stress or low mood may influence eating habits and, in turn, weight. Some people may overeat as a way of coping with emotions, others may experience loss of appetite. Below is not a full list of examples but it highlights some of the complexities.

  • Stress + – Cortisol is often referred to as the "stress hormone" and plays a role in our metabolism (how our body changes food into energy). High cortisol levels may contribute to increased appetite and the storage of fat cells. Additionally, stress may trigger emotional eating. The relationship between cortisol and weight is complex and various factors including genetics and lifestyle also have an impact. Healthy stress management practices can help reduce the impact of cortisol on weight.
  • Low Mood +– can impact weight in different ways and has a complex relationship.  Sometimes low mood can lead to overeating, often as a way to cope with emotional distress. On the other hand, sometimes low mood can lead to a loss of interest in food and reduced appetite. Click here to find out  more about Low mood and Access Therapies Back on Track

What is Mindfulness?

  • To be mindful is to be aware of what is happening in the present moment, including thoughts, physical sensations and feelings as they happen.
  • The goal is not to clear your mind of these things, but to notice them in a non judgmental way, and to be aware of them instead of controlled by them.

Mindful eating

  • Have you ever been eating a bag of popcorn while watching TV and gone to reach for more and found that there is none left?  You don’t remember eating it and you haven’t enjoyed it. Don’t worry if this is you, lots of people experience this – it is an example of mindless eating – you are not paying attention to the food you place in your body. 
  • Mindful eating is when you are fully aware of the process of eating. You have your attention focussed on the thoughts, feelings and sensations you are experiencing while you are eating.   Eating is a process that involves all our senses –taste, sound, sight, smell and touch.  By being more aware of all these  experiences it is often the case that you will enjoy your food more.


Evidence shows that mindfulness can help with low mood and anxiety, and reduce rumination (repeatedly going over the same thoughts and problems). You may find it helpful to look at our pages on   The Relationship Between Emotions and Weight.

As well as enjoying our food more, mindful eating has been shown to help us become more aware of our choices around food and our fullness / hunger cues. 

We know it takes 20 minutes for the brain to realise that the stomach has food in it.  So eating more slowly  allows us to be more in tune with biological fullness signals and helps prevent us overeating. 

Evidence has shown that mindfulness-based approaches are helpful in reducing binge eating, emotional eating and eating in response to external cues (advertisements, the smell of food etc). 

If you would like to practice mindful eating please click here for more information. 

Living with type 2 diabetes can be challenging, affecting not only physical health but also emotional well-being and daily activities. Management of this conditions includes making lifestyle changes and for some it can include medication. Some people with type 2 diabetes can make changes which can bring their type 2 diabetes into remission - these changes often include weight loss.
Although, it is important to note that type 2 diabetes is a complex condition and it is not possible to guarantee that weight loss will lead to remission for everyone. 
It is also important to note that even it you are in remission from type 2 diabetes it has not completely gone away and you still need you checks from your doctor or diabetes team. 
To find out more information about type 2 diabetes remission please click on the links below 
To find out more about type 2 diabetes remission support in Fife please click on this link Type 2 diabetes remission through Counterweight Plus | NHS Fife