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Latest research: 3 easy weight loss strategies that WORK!

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  July 17, 2012 12:16 PM

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When it comes to losing weight, calories are king.  Based on the body of research evidence to date, the type of diet that you are on (low fat versus low carbohydrate) matters little as long as the calories are restricted.  This led Anne McTiernan, MD, Ph.D. and her colleagues to look at what key behaviors successful dieters need to consistently employ to help them stay on a calorie-reducing diet long enough to meet their weight loss goals.  She found the answers.

According to her study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, McTiernan analyzed over 120 overweight/obese women on a 12-month, healthy calorie-restricted diet guided by registered dietitians (RDs).   The results uncovered the specific diet strategies that helped the women not only meet their weight loss goal of losing 10 percent of their body weight by 6 months but also to maintain the weight loss at 12 months.  According to McTiernan, the three key weight loss strategies were:

1. Journaling:  The women in the study who consistently keep food journals lost about 6 pounds more than those who didn’t journal.  “For individuals who are trying to lose weight, the No. 1 piece of advice based on these study results would be to keep a food journal to help meet daily calories goals,” says McTiernan.  If you have ever kept a food journal or log, you would have likely noticed that just the shear thought of having to write down and admit that you wolfed down a handful of potato chips standing in your kitchen late at night, could, well, take your appetite away.

2. Don’t Skip a Meal:  Women who reported skipping meals lost almost 8 fewer pounds than non-skippers.  According to McTiernan, “…skipping meals or fasting might cause you to respond more favorably to high-calorie foods.”  In other words, when you skip a meal, you may become so intensely hungry that you are driven to eating anything that isn’t moving.  Avoid this ravenous state of mind by eating at least three healthy, well-balanced, calorie-controlled meals daily.

3. Avoid Restaurants at Lunch:  The women who ate out at lunch at least weekly lost almost 5 fewer pounds, on average, than those who didn’t.  This mirrors other studies that show that dining out frequently is associated with a higher body weight.

Ask anyone who has attempted to and/or lost weight and they will likely to tell you that the biggest obstacle in achieving their weight loss goal is time.  It takes a long-term commitment-- not days but months-- of sticking to a weight-reducing diet to lose any substantial amount of weight.  Coupling a healthy, well-balanced eating plan with journaling your progress, eating meals regularly, and minimizing dining out until you reach your goal, may be the three key strategies that can help you actually reach your goal.

Try it.  What do you have to lose…..except excess weight?

Have you ever used these strategies to lose weight?  Did they work for you?  Please share.

                                         Follow Joan on Twitter at: joansalgeblake
Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.
This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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