Behavioral and Psychological Strategies Help Maintain Weight Loss


A study published recently in the journal Obesity identified specific behavioral and psychological strategies that may help people who have lost weight keep it off. The study surveyed over 4,700 participants in a weight loss program who had maintained a weight loss of at least 20 pounds for more than three years. A group of over 500 weight-stable individuals with obesity served as a control group. The weight loss group reported more frequent, habitual, healthy dietary choices, greater self-monitoring, and the employment of psychological coping strategies. They were also more willing to ignore food cravings. Key strategies included keeping low‐calorie foods accessible, setting daily calorie goals, daily recording of caloric intake, and regularly measuring foods. Specific psychological coping strategies included “thinking about past successes” and “remaining positive in the face of weight regain.” Importantly, people for whom healthy eating became a habit had more success maintaining weight loss.

While this study focused on individuals in one specific weight loss program, these results are in line with other studies which indicate successful weight-loss maintainers generally eat a lower-calorie diet and have higher levels of physical activity, dietary restraint, and self‐monitoring behaviors. Sustaining weight loss has been shown to maintain improvements in cardiometabolic risk facts.


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