FRIDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- Many dieters feel jubilant when they reach their weight goal, only to find that the pounds somehow return after that.
New research may help explain why that is so: The behaviors that help people lose weight don't overlap much with those that help them maintain their new shape, according to scientists from Penn State University.
The team investigated whether two distinct sets of thought patterns and behaviors were associated with weight loss, defined as losing 10 percent of your body weight in a year, and weight-loss maintenance, keeping that 10 percent loss off for a year.
Using a random phone survey of 1,165 adults, they found that there was little agreement between the two. Those who used a consistent exercise routine or ate plenty of low-fat sources of protein were more likely to report weight-loss maintenance, not weight loss. And those who reported doing different kinds of exercises or planning meals ahead of time, for example, were more likely to report weight loss but not weight-loss maintenance.
Therefore, the researchers concluded, diet programs may need to guide participants differently to handle each specific phase.
"They started an important discussion that probably should have occurred earlier," said Alice H. Lichtenstein, a professor of nutrition at the USDA Human Nutrition Center at Tufts University in Boston. "I think they address an important point -- whether more emphasis should be given to stabilizing weight loss than is currently given."
"When you're losing weight, it's kind of exciting. All of these neat changes are happening," added Beth Kitchin, an assistant professor of nutrition sciences at University of Alabama at Birmingham. "When we get to where we want to maintain, the mindset changes. Some struggle with adding more calories back in, and learning how to eat foods that may not have been on
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