We might not like to hear it, but if we really want to lose weight and keep it off, we need to think about changing habits central to our lives. This doesn’t just mean changes for a weekend during a fad diet. It means we need to stop doing some of the things that are making us gain the weight and start doing something better.
It’s not just me who thinks this way. There was a study from McGill University that showed that when people made behavioral changes, they lost 10 percent of their body mass. Changing habits is not about counting carbs, cutting sugar or anything extreme. Instead, it’s about repairing the things we’re doing to ourselves that cause weight problems.
The researchers in the study I read about were named Bärbel Knäuper and Steven Grover. They lead a team that studied almost 200 participants. They included both men and women and were all overweight. They used cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in a group setting over the span of a year.
The study results showed that the people who experienced cognitive behavioral therapy with the help of clinical psychology doctoral students as their coaches, they lost more weight than people who dieted normally, the control group. Those who received the CBT were coached by experts and tracked their nutrition and fitness efforts using online platforms like myhealthcheckupasaz., or MyFitnessPal. They lost 10 percent of their body weight over the year.
On the other hand, the control group used traditional kinds of weight loss program. Over the year, they lost weight, too, but their weight loss was notably lower at 3 to 5 percent of their body fat. The researchers looked into ways to be able to improve the way that dieting programs could be made more efficient. What they determined was that these programs could benefit from a greater focus on changing habits.
Other important points the researchers discovered through the research included:
- More weight is lost in a group-based program than among people who diet alone. Moreover, the majority of group program users were able to maintain their lost weight after their program ended.
- Behavioral change is effective, but it should be administered by behavioral change experts.
- Emotional eaters were not as likely to benefit from CBT groups as people who do not eat for that reason.
I read the findings of this study in a newspaper, but it is officially published within the Obesity journal.
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