Weight control strategies after weight loss are the hardest part of losing weight. Most people are able to diet off at least some weight, but then comes the more difficult part. But, how do you keep the weight from coming back on?
Weight Control Avoids Obesity
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than one-third of American adults are considered to be obese, meaning their body mass index is 30 or higher.
The American Medical Association (AMA) has officially recognized obesity as a chronic disease. Defining obesity as a disease should spur physicians and patients to regard it as a serious medical issue.
Obesity carries with it many health risks. It has been linked to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and several types of cancer.
Weight Control Requires Keeping the Weight Off
Most people struggle with long-term weight control. By some estimates, only about 20% of overweight individuals are successful in keeping off at least 10% of their initial body weight for a year or longer.
A new study, however, suggests that using specific strategies can slow the rate of weight regain in obese adults who have lost weight.
New Study on Weight Control Strategies to Keep Weight Off
Three clinics at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in North Carolina conducted a maintenance intervention study on obese adults using a control group.
How the Weight Control Study Was Conducted
The study, which was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, compared two groups of obese patients who had lost weight. The goal was to figure out if intervention helped with weight loss maintenance.
• The study involved 222 obese patients all of whom had lost at least 8.8 pounds in a 16-week weight loss program.
• They were randomly assigned to participate in either an intervention group that provided weight maintenance strategies for an additional 42 weeks or a group that received no weight control support.
• Those in the intervention group participated in three in-person group meetings and eight individual telephone calls.
• This group was given a maintenance calorie budget and strategies on how to exercise, get support from their family and friends, and monitor their weight.
• The phone calls also involved the patients reflecting on how their lives have improved as a result of weight loss, making a plan for situations when they might feel tempted to go back to old habits, and specifying how frequently they would weigh themselves.
• All participants in both groups were scheduled for assessment appointments at the beginning of the study and then after 14, 26, 42 and 56 weeks.
Results of Weight Control Maintenance Study
• After 56 weeks, 58.6% of patients in the intervention group either regained some weight or saw no change in weight. But, 72.5% of patients in the control group that received no support regained some weight or saw no change. This is a 13.9% difference.
• The average weight regain in the intervention group was only 1.5 pounds, compared with 5.2 pounds in the other group.
• Corrine Voils, research career scientist at William S. Middleton Veterans Memorial Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin and lead author of the study, comment that “We knew that maintaining weight loss is hard and that previous maintenance studies have tended to focus on middle-aged white females. We were unsure if a mainly telephone-based program would work in a population that is primarily men and of mixed race,” she said. “We were happy to see that our strategies reduced the rate of weight regain.”
Tips for Weight Control Maintenance
The National Weight Control Registry, which has tracked more than 10,000 individuals who have maintained significant weight losses, offers these recommendations on how to maintain weight control:
• Maintain high levels of physical activity. The recommended goal is 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking.
• Monitor your weight by weighing yourself frequently.
• Monitor and keep track of your diet and activity.
• Take immediate action in the face of small weight regains.
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