The Small Change That Doubles Weight Loss

People in the study could eat what they liked and did no additional exercise.

People in the study could eat what they liked and did no additional exercise.

Small changes to mealtimes can double weight loss, new research finds.

The weight loss was achieved by delaying breakfast for just 90 minutes and eating dinner 90 minutes early.

People in the study were free to eat what they liked — within this window — and they made no other changes to their lifestyles.

The study was 10 weeks long, but almost half said they would consider maintain the new mealtimes in the future.

The study split people into two groups: one ate their meals at normal times and the other delayed breakfast by 90 minutes and ate their dinners 90 minutes earlier.

The results showed that changing mealtimes doubled the loss in body fat.

Because of the change in mealtimes, people ate less.

They probably had lower appetites, reduced opportunity to eat and snacked less in the evening.

Although it worked for some people, more than half reported that the new mealtimes were not compatible with their family or social life.

However, the study does show the dramatic effect of relatively small changes to mealtimes.

Dr Jonathan Johnston, study co-author, said:

“Although this study is small, it has provided us with invaluable insight into how slight alterations to our meal times can have benefits to our bodies.

Reduction in body fat lessens our chances of developing obesity and related diseases, so is vital in improving our overall health.

However, as we have seen with these participants, fasting diets are difficult to follow and may not always be compatible with family and social life.

We therefore need to make sure they are flexible and conducive to real life, as the potential benefits of such diets are clear to see.

We are now going to use these preliminary findings to design larger, more comprehensive studies of time-restricted feeding.”

The study was published in the Journal of Nutritional Science (Antoni et al., 2018).

The Most Shocking Barrier To Weight Loss

There is no justification for this shocking barrier to weight loss.

There is no justification for this shocking barrier to weight loss.

Weight discrimination or ‘fat shaming’ is one of the most shocking barriers to weight loss, research finds.

Unfortunately, being treated disrespectfully by others leads to weight gain.

People who had been fat shamed weighed an average of 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg) more over the four years of the study.

However, those who did not experience discrimination lost weight.

Fat shaming includes:

  • Being threatened or harassed,
  • receiving poor service from people in stores and restaurants,
  • and being treated disrespectfully.

There is a popular perception that ‘fat shaming’ can encourage people to lose weight.

This study emphatically shows this is not true.

Dr Sarah Jackson, the study’s lead author, said:

“There is no justification for discriminating against people because of their weight.

Our results show that weight discrimination does not encourage weight loss, and suggest that it may even exacerbate weight gain.

Previous studies have found that people who experience discrimination report comfort eating.

Stress responses to discrimination can increase appetite, particularly for unhealthy, energy-dense food.

Weight discrimination has also been shown to make people feel less confident about taking part in physical activity, so they tend to avoid it.”

The conclusions come from a study of 2,944 people in the UK who were tracked for four years.

The results showed that 36% of those who were obese had experienced weight discrimination.

Those that experienced weight discrimination put on an average of 2 pounds (1kg).

Those who did not experience discrimination lost an average of 1.5 pounds (0.7kg).

Professor Jane Wardle, study co-author, said:

“Our study clearly shows that weight discrimination is part of the obesity problem and not the solution.

Weight bias has been documented not only among the general public but also among health professionals; and many obese patients report being treated disrespectfully by doctors because of their weight.

Everyone, including doctors, should stop blaming and shaming people for their weight and offer support, and where appropriate, treatment.”

The study was published in the journal Obesity (Jackson et al., 2014).

The Worst Barrier To Weight Loss

Trying to lose weight is hard enough without this problem.

Trying to lose weight is hard enough without this problem.

A high-calorie diet damages the brain, making it harder to resist eating more high-calorie foods, research suggests.

High-fat, high-calorie diets change an area of the brain called the hippocampus.

This area is critical to inhibiting thoughts — such as those that make a person want to eat more than they should.

Without this brake on unwanted thoughts about eating, obesity becomes even more difficult to avoid.

Professor Terry Davidson, the study’s first author, said:

“It is a vicious cycle that may explain why obesity is so difficult to overcome.

The idea is, you eat the high fat/high calorie diet and it causes you to overeat because this inhibitory system is progressively getting fouled up.

And unfortunately, this inhibitory system is also for remembering things and suppressing other kinds of thought interference.”

The conclusions come from a study of rats, some of whom were fed a high-fat, high-calorie diet.

The results showed that the rats who became obese had more problems with a memory task.

If humans are the same, it may help explain why it is difficult to lose weight and keep it off.

Without the ability to suppress thoughts about food, obese people will find it harder to resist temptation.

However, like people, not all rats are interested in the high-fat diet, said Professor Davidson:

“Some rats and some people have a lower preference for high-energy diets.

Our results suggest that whatever allows them to eat less and keep the pounds off also helps to keep their brains cognitively healthy.”

Professor Davidson thinks the brain damage may become permanent after a time:

“I do think it [the damage] becomes permanent, but I don’t know at what point it becomes permanent.

Other research has found that obese people and formerly obese people have weaker hippocampal activity when consuming food than do people who have never been obese.

Just because you lose the weight doesn’t mean you regain the brain function.

This could help explain why it is so difficult for formerly obese people to keep the weight off.”

The study was published in the journal Physiology and Behavior (Davidson et al., 2012).

The Typical Reason You’re Not Losing Weight

This weight loss barrier makes weight particularly difficult to lose.

This weight loss barrier makes weight particularly difficult to lose.

People who eat in response to their emotional states find it particularly hard to lose weight, research finds.

Emotional eaters often agree with statements like:

  • “When I feel lonely, I console myself by eating.”
  • “While on a diet, if I eat a food that is not allowed, I often splurge and eat other high calorie foods.”

In contrast, people who eat mainly in response to external factors (like festive celebrations) find it easier to lose weight and keep it off.

Breaking the cycle of emotional eating involves identifying the feelings and situations that trigger eating and changing the habit.

The strategies that most psychologists recommend include cognitive therapy, mindfulness and problem-solving.

Dr Heather Niemeier, the study’s first author, explained:

“We found that the more people report eating in response to thoughts and feelings, such as, ‘when I feel lonely, I console myself by eating,’ the less weight they lost in a behavioral weight loss program.

In addition, amongst successful weight losers, those who report emotional eating are more likely to regain.”

In other words, emotional eaters are particularly susceptible to weight regain following weight loss.

Dr Niemeier said:

“Participants in behavioral weight loss programs lose an average of 10 percent of their body weight and these losses are associated with significant health benefits.

Unfortunately, the majority of participants return to their baseline weight within three to five years.”

The conclusions come from a study that looked at thousands of people trying to lose weight.

The results showed that it was critical how people’s eating was triggered.

Some people were triggered by external events and others by internal events.

Internal events include thoughts and emotions — what are commonly known as ’emotional eaters’.

Emotional eaters found it harder to lose weight and tended to put it on again later on.

Dr Niemeier said:

“Our results suggest that we need to pay more attention to eating triggered by emotions or thoughts as they clearly play a significant role in weight loss.”

Emotional eating patterns are often learnt in childhood.

Children given sweet treats as a reward can continue this habit in adulthood.

The problem with emotional eating is that once the pleasure of eating is over, the emotional hunger remains.

The study was published in the journal Obesity (Niemeier et al., 2007).

The Hidden Barrier To Weight Loss

People gained weight despite eating more healthily.

People gained weight despite eating more healthily.

Being in a settled relationship increases the chances of weight gain, new research finds.

Over the 10 years of the study, couples put on more weight than single people.

The weight gain occurred despite couples eating more healthily, including consuming more fruits and vegetables.

It may be partly because couples feel free to ‘let themselves go’.

Having children may increase weight gain even more as parents tend to eat their snacks and leftovers.

The study’s authors write:

“…couples were more likely [than single people] to meet recommendations for fruit, vegetable, fast food and alcohol consumption, and they were more likely to be a non-smoker.

These findings are consistent with the results from previous research showing that being in a committed romantic relationship is associated with health promoting behaviours.”

The conclusions come from a study of 15,001 people in Australia who were followed for 10 years.

The results showed that couples put on more weight than single people in this period.

It may be partly because people tend to eat more together than they do alone:

“…whilst family meals may include more healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables and less fast food, people often consume larger portion sizes and more calories in the company of others than they do alone


Further, the unhealthy but tempting eating habits of one spouse may migrate to the other.

For example, [one study] showed that husbands detrimentally influence the diet of their wives by increasing the consumption of fat and meat.”

Couples are also usually less concerned with attracting a partner, the authors write:

“Another interesting explanation is the marriage-market theory which suggests that married people who are no longer concerned with attracting a mate gain weight.

Entry into cohabitation or marriage is associated with a decline in the desire to maintain weight for the purpose of attracting a mate.”

The study was published in the journal PLoS ONE (Schoeppe et al., 2018).

The Simple Key To Successful Weight Loss

The weight loss technique that overcomes emotional eating.

The weight loss technique that overcomes emotional eating.

Learning to understand how foods make you feel is the key to successful weight loss, research finds.

When people are trained to identify and understand their emotions, they make healthier food choices, psychologists have discovered.

For example, foods like cookies might be linked to comforting memories of childhood or feelings of safety, which encourages their consumption.

But, someone with higher emotional awareness can spot the automatic link and predict the regret they will feel later on.

Understanding the emotions works better than nutritional knowledge in promoting weight loss, the study showed.

The study’s authors write:

“With a better understanding of how they feel and how to use emotions to make better decisions, people will not only eat better, they will also likely be happier and healthier because they relate better to others and are more concerned with their overall well-being.”

For the study, people trying to lose weight were given emotional training.

They were shown different foods and asked to pay attention to how it changed their emotions and those of other people.

At the end of the training session participants were asked to choose a snack.

Those who had had the emotion training were more likely to choose the healthier option.

The reason the emotion training is so useful is that people generally find it hard to be objective and observe their emotions dispassionately.

In a follow-up study, 106 people were followed over a three-month period to see who lost weight.

Those who had had the emotion training lost most weight in comparison to a control group, and in comparison to those who had received a nutritional knowledge course.

Part of the reason the emotion training works is it breaks down an automatic link in people’s minds between foods being unhealthy and foods being tasty.

The study’s authors write:

“We not only demonstrate that emotional ability is trainable and that food choices can be enhanced, but also that emotional ability training improves food choices beyond a nutrition knowledge training program.”

The study was published in the Journal of Marketing Research (Kidwell et al., 2014).

The Simple Habit Linked To Weight Loss

The habit is linked to a 42% lower chance of obesity.

The habit is linked to a 42% lower chance of obesity.

Eating more slowly is linked to lower obesity and a slimmer waist, new research finds.

People eating slowly were 42% less likely to be obese than those eating faster, the large study found.

Eating slowly may help people feel fuller more quickly because of how the body’s insulin levels respond to slower eating.

Two other simple habits were also linked to weight loss:

  • Avoiding after dinner snacks.
  • Not eating within two hours of going to bed.

The study followed almost 60,000 people in Japan for five years.

All categorised their eating speed as either slow, medium or fast.

Around one-third ate their food quickly, half at a normal rate and the rest were slow eaters

The results revealed that slow eaters were more likely to be healthy and to have a healthier lifestyle.

People eating at a normal speed were 29% less likely to be obese and those eating slowly were 42% less likely to be obese.

The slower people ate, the slimmer their waists.

The study’s authors concluded:

“Changes in eating habits can affect obesity, BMI, and waist circumference.

Interventions aimed at reducing eating speed may be effective in preventing obesity and lowering the associated health risks.”

Note: the study was observational, so firm conclusions cannot be drawn about cause and effect.

The study was published in the journal BMJ Open (Hurst et al., 2018).

The Simple Key To Successful Weight Loss

The best way to choose a successful diet plan.

The best way to choose a successful diet plan.

Simple diets lead to more weight loss than those that are complex, research suggests.

The reason is that the simpler the diet, the easier it is to stick to.

When choosing between different diets, consider how many rules and plans each has, the study’s authors advise.

Then, choose the one that seems easiest — it is the best bet for long-term weight loss and weight maintenance.

Professor Peter Todd, study co-author, said:

“For people on a more complex diet that involves keeping track of quantities and items eaten, their subjective impression of the difficulty of the diet can lead them to give up on it.”

Successful dieting is about more than just willpower, said Professor Jutta Mata, the study’s first author:

“Even if you believe you can succeed, thinking that the diet is cognitively complex can undermine your efforts.”

The study tested two different types of diets on 390 women.

The first was a popular German recipe diet that provides a straightforward shopping list and meal plan.

It is relatively simple because there are few options.

The other diet tested was Weight Watchers, which involves counting calories.

This is a more complex diet that gives point values to foods and requires adding up the totals.

It is more flexible, but takes greater mental effort.

The results showed that women were more likely to stick to the simpler German recipe list and meal plan.

Professor Mata said:

“If they decide to go with a more complex diet, which could be more attractive for instance if it allows more flexibility, they should evaluate how difficult they find doing the calculations and monitoring their consumption.

If they find it very difficult, the likelihood that they will prematurely give up the diet is higher and they should try to find a different plan.”

The study was published in the journal Appetite (Mata et al., 2010).

The Worst Weight Loss Technique Is Used By 50% Of People

Large decade-long study reveals what works best long-term in weight management.

Large decade-long study reveals what works best long-term in weight management.

Dieting is not the answer to effective weight management, new research concludes.

Indeed, people who carefully control what they eat put on more weight in the long-term, the large 10-year study found.

It is far better to avoid dieting and simple eat regular healthy meals.

Taking care of one’s psychological well-being is also important, as is finding a sense of meaning in life.

These are the conclusions of a Finnish study that followed over 4,900 people for a decade.

The results showed that almost everyone gained weight between the ages of 24 and 34 — around 1kg per year.

Men and women who dieted and had irregular eating habits put on more weight over the decade.

It is thought around 50% of adults are dieting at any one time.

Ms Ulla Kärkkäinen, the study’s first author, said:

“Often, people try to prevent and manage excess weight and obesity by dieting and skipping meals.

In the long term, such approaches seem to actually accelerate getting fatter, rather than prevent it.”

In addition, women who were unhappy with their life and who drank more sugary drinks also put on more weight.

For men, smoking was a risk factor for putting on more weight.

Ms Ulla Kärkkäinen, the study’s first author, said:

“Generally speaking, weight management guidance often boils down to eating less and exercising more.

In practice, people are encouraged to lose weight, whereas the results of our extensive population study indicate that losing weight is not an effective weight management method in the long run.

Prior research has shown that approximately every other adult is constantly dieting.

According to the National Institute for Health and Welfare, nearly a million Finns diet every year.

Even though dieting may seem a logical solution to weight management problems, it can actually increase weight gain and eating problems in the long run.”

The study was published in the journal Eating Behaviors (Kärkkäinen et al., 2018).

Only One Antidepressant Is Linked To Steady Weight Loss

Most antidepressants lead to weight gain in the long-term.

Most antidepressants lead to weight gain in the long-term.

Bupropion, which is marketed as Wellbutrin, is the only antidepressant linked to weight loss, new research finds.

Non-smokers lost an average of 2.4 pounds while taking bupropion over two years.

In contrast, those taking fluoxetine (known mainly as Prozac) gained an average of 4.6 pounds in the same time.

So, those taking Wellbutrin weighed an average of 7 pounds less than those who took Prozac over the two years.

Dr David Arterburn, the study’s first author, said:

“We found that bupropion is the only antidepressant that tends to be linked to weight loss over two years.

All other antidepressants are linked to varying degrees of weight gain.”

Along with Wellbutrin, bupropion is also marketed as Zyban and Elontril.

It is one of the most widely used antidepressants.

However, it is generally not recommended for anyone who has a history of seizures.

Professor Gregory Simon, one of the study’s co-authors, said:

“A large body of evidence indicates no difference in how effectively the newer antidepressants improve people’s moods.

So it makes sense for doctors and patients to choose antidepressants on the basis of their side effects, costs, and patients’ preferences—and, now, on whether patients are overweight or obese.”

The conclusions come from a study of over 5,000 US patients who were followed up to two years.

Obviously, anyone considering a change should consult their physician first.

Antidepressants Side-Effects Higher Than Previously Thought

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine (Arterburn et al., 2016).

Image credit: cora alvarez

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