New study suggests strategies for keeping off pounds

(CNN)You’ve succeeded in losing weight. Now, what can you do to keep the pounds off?

Most people seem to struggle with long-term weight loss. By some estimates, only about 20% of overweight individuals are successful in keeping off at least 10% of their initial body weight for a year or longer.
A new study, however, suggests that using specific strategies — such as weighing yourself regularly and planning for situations in which you might backslide — could modestly slow the rate of weight regain in obese adults who have lost weight.
    In the study, employing such strategies in a maintenance program increased the proportion of adults who stayed at or lowered their weight, after initial weight loss, by 13.9 percentage points, said Corrine Voils, research career scientist at William S. Middleton Veterans Memorial Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin and lead author of the study.
    However, more research is needed to determine which specific strategies offered the most benefit and which may have not had much of an impact. The study, which involved mostly men of various races and involved self-reports, was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday.

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    Though it remains difficult to establish which part of the intervention had the most impact on patients, having constant interaction with a supportive coach probably played a significant role in weight maintenance, said Dr. Samuel Grief, associate professor of clinical family medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, who was not involved in the study.
    “Group dynamics tend to be more helpful, or a team-based approach using care coordination,” Grief said.
    “That would be my answer. Because strategies like food journaling or diaries or writing out what activities you do every day or emotions that you’re feeling, all that is relevant, but there’s not a lot of science behind those causing weight loss or mitigation of weight regain. Otherwise, everybody would do it,” he said. “Also, it would have been helpful to gauge their self-efficacy.”
    Studies suggest that having self-efficacy, or believing that you will be successful in losing weight, has been linked to greater success in weight management, Grief said.
    Additionally, the researchers were unable to assess longer-term weight maintenance and relied on self-reports about dietary intake and physical activity.
    “Our population was primarily middle-aged men who were white or African-American, and results may not generalize to other populations,” Voils said.

    Tips for keeping the weight off

    The National Weight Control Registry, which has tracked more than 10,000 individuals who have maintained significant weight losses, offers some recommendations on how to maintain weight control.

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    Rena Wing, a professor at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, and James Hill, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, established the registry in 1994.
    “To maintain weight loss, there must be continued adherence to a low-calorie diet and high physical activity,” Wing said.
    She said the registry suggests that the following strategies may help someone who is trying to maintain their weight loss:
    • Maintain high levels of physical activity, in which the recommended goal is 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking.
    • Monitor your weight by weighing yourself frequently.
    • Monitor and keep track of your diet and activity.
    • Take immediate action in the face of small weight regains.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/20/health/weight-loss-maintenance-tips-study/index.html