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Weight Loss Best Behavior III: Change Big

Over the past two months, we’ve examined the effectiveness of behavioral weight loss for both individuals and families. A recent article in the Washington Post details some new studies on how behavioral changes affect weight loss efforts. Just to catch you up, behavioral weight loss programs target not just diet and exercise, but the lifestyle in general. Lifestyle changes involve group exercise, accountability partners, and routine weigh-ins. Such changes often begin with an intervention.

The Post reports on a new study published by the New England Journal of Medicine. In this test, 390 obese individuals were given one of three different types of weight loss interventions: “usual care,” “brief lifestyle counseling,” and “enhanced brief lifestyle counseling.” Those who received “usual care” went to a physician for quarterly check-ups and weight loss education. Individuals in the “brief lifestyle counseling” group went on these visits, and they also met with lifestyle coaches once a month for brief instruction regarding weight loss control. Finally, “enhanced brief lifestyle counseling” recipients added meal replacements or medication to the “brief lifestyle counseling” package.

On average, those with the advanced behavioral changes outperformed those with only “usual care”—losing over six pounds more in two years! You can read more of the details regarding this outcome at the New England Journal of Medicine’s website.

What does this mean for us?

  • Change big. Changing the way you eat and keeping yourself accountable with doctors and friends makes a big difference.
  • Be consistent. Visit your doctor, trainer, and/or accountability partner often.
  • Change now. A healthy lifestyle works! If you haven’t already begun your weight loss journey, start today!

How big of a change was it when you began pursuing a healthier life? Has it paid off?