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

rt in a 20-week behavioral weight-loss program that encouraged greater intake of vegetables and fruit, increased physical activity and use of proven dieting strategies, such as keeping daily food records. The women attended weekly 90-minute sessions with a group facilitator to learn problem-solving skills aimed at losing weight. At the end of 20 weeks, they spent eight weeks using a similar problem-solving approach to learn weight-maintenance skills.

By contrast, the women in the maintenance-first group spent the initial eight weeks learning the stability skills Kiernan's group had developed. The women were asked not to lose any weight during that time; if they did lose a few pounds, they were asked to gain them back. Kiernan said this skill mimics a more real-world approach for maintaining weight within a range of a few pounds, rather than aiming for a single number on the scale. After the eight weeks were up, the women embarked on the same 20-week weight-loss program as the women in the control group.

After both groups completed their 28-week programs, Kiernan said the results showed that the women on average lost a similar amount of weight about 17 pounds, or roughly 9 percent of their initial weight. Once the weekly group sessions stopped, the women were on their own for the following year.

"We scheduled the weekly sessions to end in October so that the women would have to navigate the holidays by themselves, without any guidance from the group facilitators," said Kiernan, the principal investigator for the study. "We wanted this to mirror real-life conditions as much as possible."

When the women were weighed one year later after no contact with their group facilitators, Kiernan said she and her collaborators were pleased to see that the maintenance-first women had regained only 3 pounds on average, compared to a 7-pound average gain for the control group. She added that the 3-pound gain falls squarely within the personalized
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Contact: Susan Ipaktchian
susani@stanford.edu
650-725-5375
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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