Easiest Ways to Tell if a Diet Will Work

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By Staff Reports

(DGIwire)– Why do many dieters reach their weight goal, only to find that the pounds eventually return?

Research done by some scientists at Penn State University provided insights into the conundrum.  Apparently, they found that the behaviors that help people lose weight aren’t the same as those that help them maintain their new body. Huh?

This particular study, one of the many great research projects done at the University, was based on a random survey of 1,165 adults.   It looked at whether two distinct sets of thought patterns and behaviors were associated with initial weight-loss (losing 10 percent of your body weight in one year) and long term weight management (maintaining the loss for one year).

Interestingly, the researchers found that there was little similarity between the dieting and long term weight managment. For example, people who followed a consistent exercise routine and/or ate plenty of low-fat sources of protein were more likely to be successful in weight maintenance but not weight loss.  The people who did different kinds of exercises or meal planning were more likely to lose weight but not maintain the loss. The researchers concluded dietary programs may need to offer different guidance for each specific phase.

The basis for the survey was recruiting and interviewing people who were successful in their weight-loss maintenance which was defined as losing at least 30 pounds and keeping it off for at least a year.  The adults they surveyed were then asked about 36 potential strategies they might consider and implement to accomplish losing the desired weight and keeping it off.

Interestingly, fourteen of the strategies were associated with either successful weight loss or successful maintenance, but not both, and the overlap between practices was not much higher than what might be expected by chance.

The strategies associated only with weight-loss included participating in a diet program, looking for information about weight-loss, nutrition or exercise, limiting sugar intake, planning meals beforehand, avoiding skipped meals and thinking about how much better you feel when you are thinner.

The strategies associated only with weight-loss maintenance included eating plenty of low-fat protein, following a consistent exercise routine, rewarding yourself for sticking to your eating plan, and reminding yourself why you need to control your weight.

“The problem with ‘diets’ is that they are always viewed as temporary,” says long time health guru Tom Griesel.  “The objective of the typical diet is solely to lose weight and is often based on restriction of foods and calories along with an unsustainable amount of exercise.  Once the goal is reached, there is no realistic plan to maintain the loss.”

Griesel adds, “The key to success is focusing on optimal health and losing your excess body fat along with improving your body composition, not on ‘weight-loss’.  The formula for health, fat loss and maintenance of a lean, healthy body is the same and will therefore work for achieving the initial goal as well as maintaining it or improving for life.  Whenever the short-term and long-term method and goal are not the same, failure and frustration are right around the corner.”

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