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Mastering weight-maintenance skills before embarking on diet helps women avoid backsliding
Date:10/30/2012

d, she was always either losing or gaining.

"She had no sense what she was aiming for," Kiernan said. "We wanted to see if there was a way to help people get away from this all-or-nothing approach that is associated with losing weight."

Kiernan noted that weight maintenance may require a different set of skills and behaviors than those used for losing weight. So she and her colleagues came up with the idea to teach weight-maintenance skills first so that people could experience how to fine-tune their behavior in response to everyday pleasures and disruptions rather than being "on" or "off" a diet. Among these stability skills are searching out low-fat or low-calorie foods that taste as good as high-fat/high-calorie options to avoid feelings of deprivation; occasionally eating and savoring small amounts of favorite high-fat/high-calorie foods; weighing daily to see how their body weight naturally fluctuates from day to day; identifying a personalized weight-fluctuation range of about 5 pounds to account for common disruptions, such as water gain and vacations; strategically losing a few pounds before a known disruption (such as a vacation) to minimize its effects; and eating a little more when reaching the lower limit of the personalized 5-pound range.

Kiernan said the approach is designed to help people make peace with the scale and learn how to pay "relaxed attention" to their weight in ways that can be maintained over the long term without keeping food records.

"Losing a significant amount of weight requires a lot of focused attention to what you're doing, and most people can't keep up that intensity over the long term," Kiernan said. "For weight maintenance, we wanted something that would make the day-to-day experience positive while not requiring overwhelming amounts of effort."

For the study, 267 overweight/obese women were randomized into one of two groups. The women in the control group immediately began taking pa
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Contact: Susan Ipaktchian
susani@stanford.edu
650-725-5375
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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