Podcast Episode 121: From Stigma to Self-Compassion: Mindset Matters – Dr. Gary Foster

Jun 3, 2019


“What’s in your head is just as important as what’s on your plate” – Dr. Gary Foster

Building healthy habits, including healthy weight habits, is about being in the right frame of mind. Weight management is not just about eating less and moving more. Studies have shown that mindfulness practices offer positive aspects for overall health and wellness, including higher levels of well-being, focus and attention, self-insight, and relationship satisfaction, as well as lower levels of depression, social anxiety, and psychological distress. 1,2

Mindset techniques and tools are built into the program whether you are at a WW Workshop or using the digital app. You learn how to be more mindful through action, just as you would with food and activity. A variety of mindset topics are utilized throughout the program including: social support, emotional eating, dealing with setbacks, stress, time management, goal-setting, mindful eating, problem solving, assertion training. Fifty percent of WW Workshop topics focus on mindfulness and all mindset topics must have proven efficacy for the stated claim, a clear link to making the wellness journey easier, have immediate benefits, rather than delayed gratification, and most importantly have practical, actionable skills and strategies to help build healthy habits.

Practicing mindset techniques can help you embrace challenges and turn setbacks into learning opportunities. If you THINK differently, you’ll act differently.”

Gary Foster, PhD

Dr. Gary Foster, Chief Scientific Officer at WW (Weight Watchers)Gary Foster, PhD, is the Chief Scientific Officer at WW, the new Weight Watchers. Dr. Gary Foster is a psychologist, obesity investigator and behavior change expert who has authored more than 175 scientific publications and three books. In his role as CSO at WW, Dr. Foster oversees the science-based program, all clinical research initiatives, and continued program advances.

Dr. Foster was previously the Director of the Center of Obesity Research and Education at Temple University and served as a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine.

Building healthy habits is about being in the right frame of mind. It’s not just about eating less and moving more.”

Weight Stigma is a Global Problem

Weight stigma is a global problem that can have a negative impact on emotional and physical wellbeing and impair health.1 As a global leader in weight loss and wellness, WW is in a position to help find solutions to combat weight stigma and empower those affected by stigmatization. WW funded the largest weight stigma study to date, partnering with Dr. Rebecca Puhl, Deputy Director for the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity and Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at University of Connecticut. The goal is to better understand the psychosocial and weight-related health consequences of weight bias, factors that lead people to internalize weight bias, and identify coping strategies and tools to apply when dealing with the effects of weight stigma and internalized weight bias.

Calories are not enough when looking for long term weight loss. A positive mindset allows for happier people, and happier people make healthier decisions.”



  1. Davis DM, Hayes JA. What are the benefits of mindfulness? A practice review of psychotherapy-related research. Psychotherapy 2011;48(2):198-208.
  2. Keng SL et al. Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: a review of empirical studies. Clinical Psychological Review 2011;31:1041-1056.

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W.I.S.E. Choices: Weight Improvement, Satisfaction & Energy – Sound Bites Podcast #79 with Dr. James O. Hill

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Snacking: Trends, Threats & Opportunities – Sound Bites Podcast #117 with Dr. Shelley Balanko

Learn, Connect, Engage: Peer Support Communities – Sound Bites Podcast #93

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  1. Eileen Romano on June 21, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Great insight and so much to help me be a better coach. Thank you!

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