Training the Brain May be Key to Losing Weight…and Keeping it Off!

By Emily Murray

With the holidays fast approaching, we start seeing more recipes popping up online and commercial breaks featuring families happily enjoying their meals. It seems we are being encouraged to take full advantage of indulging in holiday meals. The funny thing about this however is that as soon as the holiday season wraps up, these commercials instantly switch over to an overload of dieting ads. Seem a bit contradictory?

It is, but according to new research so is our normal method of dieting.

We live in a world of the yo-yo dieting and whether we want to admit it or not, many of us have been active participants at one point or another. With a bit of motivation the weight begins to come off but think about where you were at after you stopped or cut back on the dieting? Realistically when it comes to weight loss, it’s a case of easy come, easy go. If you lose weight quickly, you will gain it back just as fast if your not careful.

So how do we avoid this vicious weight loss roller coaster?

It may simply come down to training our brains according to a new study which was recently published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Essentially this new study claims that rather than just jumping straight into our weight loss goals, we should spend time training our brain first. Not sure how that works exactly? Well here’s a recap of what the study discovered.

  • 2 groups of mainly obese  women (267 in total) took part in two different programs for the end goal of losing weight
  • 1 group began a weight loss program instantly, the other took 8-weeks extra to first prepare and alter their lifestyles (encouraging healthy eating, daily walks etc.)
  • The average weight loss was nearly the same (roughly 17 pounds) but the real difference was seen in the results months to follow

As most of us know, the hardest part of the weight loss journey is keeping the weight off once we have lost it. When researchers followed up with participants  from both groups, the women who had trained their brain to enjoy living a healthier lifestyle, choosing better foods and getting more daily activity kept the weight from creeping back. In fact, those who completed the 8 week program regained an average of 3 pounds over the next year as opposed to the other group who gained roughly 7 pounds.

We often hear people claiming they aren’t on a diet they have just made a lifestyle change. It appears these people have a better chance then the swarms of crash dieters that multiply after the holidays.

This holiday season enjoy meals with friends and family but perhaps now is the time to start training yourself to take part in healthier habits. Start going for walks, make healthier food choices and by the time the holidays arrive you will be in a better state of mind to enjoy the festivities without overindulging!

Here at KwikMed, our office is having an employee Healthy Holiday Challenge to cut those few extra pounds over the next few months while staying healthy over the holidays.   What are your plans for staying healthy into 2013?