Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



In the United States, nearly 40 percent of adults are overweight, a prevalence that has increased over the past decade. Although Americans spend nearly $33 billion annually on various weight loss solutions, research indicates that most individuals who diet do not lose weight, and even if they do, nearly all of them gain it back within a year. Achieving and maintaining weight loss requires long-term engagement in positive health behaviors such as a balanced diet and regular physical activity, which is often easier said than done. Frequently omitted from the prevailing paradigm of weight loss is the role of our own psychology. The weight loss industry often flaunts the saying “look good, feel good,” implying that once one achieves a healthy weight, happiness will follow. I posit that we should explore “feeling good” – the experience of vitality – as an input rather than solely an output in the weight loss equation. This paper examines vitality and provides evidence-informed, actionable strategies that can be delivered across various mediums to boost vitality as a means to drive positive health behaviors and sustainable weight loss. While the primary focus of this capstone is a non-clinical, overweight population, a vital experience is beneficial to all.


health, weight loss, public health, vitality, physical health, diet


Health/Wellness, Well-Being/Flourishing, Education, Counseling/Coaching, Relationships, Positive Emotions, Other Topics


Literature Review, Working Paper, Curriculum



Date Posted: 09 October 2019