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Best Behavior II: How Your Diet Can Make Your Whole Family Healthier

In one of our earlier blog entries, we noted the superior benefits of behaviorally-based weight loss programs. Now there’s more reason than ever to get involved in a program that focuses on your behavior, especially since a new study shows that it could help your family, too.

The Los Angeles Times recently reported on a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Assn. that uncovered this news. Simply put, it seems that when an obese person takes up a behavioral weight loss strategy, his or her family members also tend to lose weight.

“Researchers surveyed 230 adult family members of 149 people in Italy who enrolled in a weekly cognitive behavioral therapy group that lasted about six months. […] On average, family members reduced their daily calorie intake by 200,” says the article.

Behavioral weight loss therapy targets the way we think. These kinds of programs usually involve group sessions and counseling, training us not only to rethink meals and exercise plans, but also to rethink food altogether. A strong behavioral weight loss program encourages and establishes a long-term healthy lifestyle.

It also seems to encourage family members to get in on the excitement! The families in this study benefited from the change of diet, and found themselves motivated to exercise more regularly.

Are you targeting your mind and behavior on your weight loss journey? Here are a few good ways to do so—and get your family involved, too!

  • Cook healthy foods for everyone. If you’re already the family chef, you have the power to make everyone’s meals healthier. If not, ask for more fruits and vegetables to be on the menu. Keeping a bowl of fruit on the table (and getting rid of fatty snacks) is also an easy way to encourage healthy eating.
  • Exercise together. Get the family involved in your walks, runs, and trips to the gym. You’ll find the conversation and companionship make the time fly by.
  • Set family goals. Have everyone set a personal goal for the month, or even set a group goal. By keeping each other accountable, you’ll stay focused and get fit.

How is your family involved in your weight loss journey? How do you encourage one another? Please share!