DIAGNOSIS: Eating Disorders and Weight Management
TREATMENT: Behavioral Weight Management

2015 EST Status: Treatment pending re-evaluation Very strong: High-quality evidence that treatment improves symptoms and functional outcomes at post-treatment and follow-up; little risk of harm; requires reasonable amount of resources; effective in non-research settings

Strong: Moderate- to high-quality evidence that treatment improves symptoms OR functional outcomes; not a high risk of harm; reasonable use of resources

Weak: Low or very low-quality evidence that treatment produces clinically meaningful effects on symptoms or functional outcomes; Gains from the treatment may not warrant resources involved

Insufficient Evidence: No meta-analytic study could be identified

Insufficient Evidence: Existing meta-analyses are not of sufficient quality

Treatment pending re-evaluation

1998 EST Status: Strong Research Support Strong: Support from two well-designed studies conducted by independent investigators.

Modest: Support from one well-designed study or several adequately designed studies.

Controversial: Conflicting results, or claims regarding mechanisms are unsupported.

Strength of Research Support

Empirical Review Status
2015 Criteria
(Tolin et al. Recommendation)
Very Strong
Insufficient Evidence
Treatment pending re-evaluation
1998 Criteria
(Chambless et al. EST)

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Brief Summary

  • Basic premise: Eating and activity behaviors are reinforced by cues and consequences that can be internal (e.g., thoughts and feelings) or external (e.g., environment, behaviors). Selectively modifying these internal and external factors can facilitate positive changes in diet and exercise. In addition, providing measurable goals and methods to monitor progress towards such goals can promote behavior change.
  • Essence of therapy: Weight loss requires expending more energy than one is taking in. For most, this involves altering both eating and exercise habits. The treatment is designed to help individuals decrease energy intake and increase energy expenditure by providing clear eating and exercise goals, and ways to monitor these behaviors. Self-monitoring enhances awareness of health behaviors, thus making them more susceptible to change. The treatment also includes modifying the cues and consequences that control eating and activity behaviors.
  • Length: 25-44 sessions

Treatment Resources

Editors:Evan Forman, PhD; Stephanie Goldstein, BS

Note: The resources provided below are intended to supplement not replace foundational training in mental health treatment and evidence-based practice

Treatment Manuals / Outlines

Treatment Manuals
Books Available for Purchase Through External Sites
Treatment Outlines

Measures, Handouts and Worksheets

Self-help Books

Important Note: The books listed above are based on empirically-supported in-person treatments. They have not necessarily been evaluated empirically either by themselves or in conjunction with in-person treatment. We list them as a resource for clinicians who assign them as an adjunct to conducting in-person treatment.

Clinical Trials

Meta-analyses and Systematic Reviews

Other Treatment Resources