According to yearlong study funded by Weight Watchers and published in the Lancet on December 30, 2011, overweight and obese people who received weight loss support and followed the Weight Watchers diet plan lost twice the number of pounds compared to dieters who just received advice about weight loss from a doctor or nurse.
In the yearlong study, those who met one-on-one with doctors or nurses went once a month for weight loss support. In the study, participants on average attended three meetings each month. On the Weight Watchers’ program, dieters typically go to weight loss support meetings once a week.
Will getting weight loss support help you lose more pounds? Here’s what research reveals:
According to the Health Watch article “Dieters in Weight Watchers Lost Twice as Much,” Similar studies like the Weight Watchers’s study show that dieters who opt to get regular support for weight loss have a tendency to lose more pounds compared to people who don’t get support.
According to the National Weight Control Registry, fifty-five percent of people who lose weight successfully–meaning they lose extra weight and keep it off for five years or longer–get some kind of weight loss support.
While there is much research about the importance for weight loss support, behavioral analysts say there is a collective number of things dieters should do to drop pounds:
- Making gradual, modest changes in diet
- Setting clear, realistic goals (both long term and short term)
- Focusing on changing habits rather than following fad or short-term diets
- Keeping a food diary
- Checking the scale at least once a week
- Engaging in regular exercise
While losing weight may does not seem like it should be so difficult, for many it seems nearly impossible. The obesity crisis in the United States continues to get worse. According to the article “How to Fix the Obesity Crisis,” if the current obesity trend continues, it will soon surpass smoking as the largest single factor in early death, health care costs and reduced quality of life. One third of people in the United States are overweight, and another one third of people are obese. One of the worst statistics about diets is as many as two thirds of dieters end up weighing more than they did before they started diets.
One of the reasons for the increase in overweight and obesity may simply be that too many people are looking for the quick fix to their weight problems. They go on and off fad diets. Another reason is probably the environmental circumstances that encourage overeating such as large portion sizes and the availability of inexpensive, low quality food.
To start losing weight and keep it off permanently, people need to make long-term behavioral changes and actively find ways to purchase healthy, fresh foods. Effective weight loss is not easy. Changing these behaviors is not easy, but it is possible. Getting weight loss support is one of the best ways to begin.
“Dieters in Weight Watchers Lost Twice as Much.” Health Watch/CNN Health. Decemer 5, 2011.
“Research Findings.” National Weight Control Registry.
“How to Fix the Obesity Crisis.” Scientific American. February 2011, Vol 304, Issue 2, pg. 40-47.