Sunday, July 08, 2007

What's the best way to lose weight?

So glad you asked!

There are many ways to effectively lose weight, some better than others. But for most of us, at least according to this study, your plan should have some accountability.

The study compared formal weight loss programs (diet and exercise only) to those that had a meeting/group component included, which they referred to as dietary counseling. Weekly meetings helped participants understand what their bodies were going through, how to deal with setbacks and learning to live a new lifestyle.

Those in the counseling group lost 10-15 pounds and kept it off for approximately 1 year, significantly greater weight loss and long-term success than diet and exercise alone. Now I know what you are thinking, only 10-15 pounds? I want/need to lose 25, 50 pounds or more. That's not the point. The point is they lost weight and kept it off for a year.

If you need to lose more and participate in a program that only helps you lose 15, is that failure? I think it's a darn good success story and gives you all the confidence you need to keep going.

Again, the main point is that they lost weight!

But why?

It's the social support aspect of the dietary counseling. When you have weekly meetings, you're more likely to stick with the program. Encouragement from others within the group builds confidence. These meetings also have someone participate that's "been there, done that." Their experience alone is invaluable. Finally, should you ever miss a meeting, someone will be there to ask you why. If your excuse is lame, the guilt alone can be enough to get you over a hurdle.

Back to the title of the post. Is this the best way to lose weight? On an individual basis, maybe - maybe not. For most people, weekly meetings (counseling, inspiration, motivation - however you want to label them) work extremely well for long-term success.

Remember, losing weight and then gaining it back is not the ultimate. Keeping it off is.

Have you been in a program like this? What are your thoughts? Have you tried, tried and tried to lose weight, only to have a little success and then fall back to the old habits?

We can help. First, sign up for our fitness center newsletter BSFC Monthly. It's absolutely free and comes with nice bonus gifts for signing up. Plus, each month it's loaded with all sorts of good information on fitness, diet, health and exercise.

If you live in Houston or pass through the SW part of town on a regular basis, our Fit Heart Membership is just the ticket for you. The benefits, amenities and services associated with this membership are absolutely second to none!

Until next time, break a sweat today and eat some fruits and vegetables!

Dr. Brian

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