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

Cheating On Goals Can Paradoxically Boost Motivation To Succeed

When it is better to give in to temptation.

When it is better to give in to temptation.

It can be a long and winding road to meet long-term goals to transform the self.

Self-compassion helps us to deal with the inevitable slip-ups along the way.

Similarly, a new study finds that planning to cheat on long-term goals can paradoxically be beneficial to motivation.

Researchers found that dieters who had one planned ‘naughty day’ per week found it easier to stick to their diet…

…and they reported higher motivation and more pleasure.

They also lost the same amount of weight as those who did not have a ‘naughty day’.

Keeping rigidly to weight-loss restrictions, always saving money and so on can exhaust our powers of self-control.

The study’s authors explain:

“…abstinence and inhibition of certain behaviors or products frequently leads to “irresistible urges” and cravings that are difficult to restrain.

This may lead to the breakdown of self-regulation and a snowballing to complete loss of control.

The present findings indicate a straightforward and new technique for effective self-management.

They show that it is important to plan hedonic moments in goal pursuit when it is “good to be bad,” and that this enhances the likelihood of goal attainment.”

In other words: it’s OK for you to relax your rules once in a while.

One of the keys, though, seems to be that the lapses are planned in advance.

The study’s author continue:

“Unplanned goal deviations may feel as failures and thus set a “failure cascade” in motion, with a “what-the-hell”effect as result, such that goals are completely abandoned.

Quite the contrary happens when hedonic goal deviations areplanned.

Then, they may contribute positively to strengthen several factors that have been shown to aid goal-attainment.

Of course, goal deviations should be minor and temporary, else becoming the norm rather than the exception to it.

Butt he goal deviations can still be substantial; in fact they constituted almost 15% of the activity, one-day of the week, in one of our experiments.”

For the study, the researchers also looked at people who were striving for a variety of different goals including saving money and developing healthier habits.

The authors conclude:

“…rather that engaging in straight, persistent goal-striving which is often recommended in the applied, self-help literature, and some academic goal literature, our experiments indicate that consumers may be better off, when planning for moments of indulgence.

Intermittent goal striving appears to be a powerful strategy to increase goal-persistence.”

The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology (do Vale et al., 2016).

Eating cake image from Shutterstock

Weight Loss: Why You Should Put A Mirror Up In The Kitchen

The taste of fruit salad was unaffected by the presence of a mirror.

The taste of fruit salad was unaffected by the presence of a mirror.

Putting up a mirror in the kitchen could help you eat less unhealthy food, new research finds.

In the study, people who ate chocolate cake felt it was less tasty when there was a mirror in the room.

Fruit salad, though, was unaffected by the presence of a mirror.

Dr Ata Jami, the study’s author, said:

“A glance in the mirror tells people more than just about their physical appearance.

It enables them to view themselves objectively and helps them to judge themselves and their behaviors in a same way that they judge others.”

Dr Jami explains how the mirror works in the paper:

“…consuming unhealthy food in front of a mirror enhances the self-awareness of current behavior.

This leads to discomfort when one realizes that such behavior does not match with one’s ideal standards of 4 living.

Since objective attribution of discomfort to self enhances the discomfort, people utilize a biased attribution process and negatively distort their taste perception to explain the discomfort.”

The study was published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research (Jami, 2016).

Kitchen image from Shutterstock

People Eat Fewer Calories After A Straightforward Change To Home Environment

This straightforward change to the household environment can help people eat fewer calories.

This straightforward change to the household environment can help people eat fewer calories.

Messy environments create stress and that can lead people to eat more than they should, a new study finds.

Keeping the kitchen clean, though, leads people to eat less.

The study had stressed women in either:

  • a messy kitchen with the phone ringing,
  • or a quiet and clean kitchen.

The kitchen had bowls of cookies, crackers and carrots for them to eat.

Those waiting in the messy, noisy kitchen ate 65 more calories in 10 minutes.

Dr Lenny Vartanian, the study’s lead author, said:

“Being in a chaotic environment and feeling out of control is bad for diets.

It seems to lead people to think, ‘Everything else is out of control, so why shouldn’t I be?’

I suspect the same would hold with males.”

The study also compared the effects of being stressed with being relaxed.

Being stressed while waiting in the kitchen led women to eat an average of 100 calories more.

Professor Brian Wansink, a study co-author, said:

“Although meditation, as a way of feeling in control, might be one way to resist kitchen snacking for some, it’s probably easier just to keep our kitchens picked up and cleaned up.”

The study was published in the journal Environment and Behavior (Vartanian et al., 2016).

Weight loss image from Shutterstock

This Very Easy Change To Tableware Can Help You Eat 30% Less

If you’re watching your weight, then here’s a trick that helps.

If you’re watching your weight, then here’s a trick that helps.

Using a plate that’s 30% smaller really does reduce food consumption by 30%, new research finds.

It’s been a controversial topic for psychologists, with over fifty different studies published on the topic over the years.

Some studies have found smaller plates help people eat less, others not.

Now, though, a new survey of all the research finds that the trick works, as long as people:

  • serve themselves,
  • and are unaware they are being monitored.

Over the years scientists have tested all kinds of foods, including snack foods, rice, fruit, cereals and popcorn.

The effect of using smaller plates — as long as people serve themselves and aren’t aware they are being monitored — is usually the same.

They eat less.

Reducing the diameter of a plate by 30% is enough to reduce consumption by 30%.

Dr Natalina Zlatevska, one of the study’s authors, said:

“Just changing to smaller plates at home can help reduce how much you serve yourself and how much you eat.”

If you’re watching your weight, then, it could be time to get some new, smaller, plates.

The study was published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research (Holden et al., 2016).

Plate image from Shutterstock

Why Eating With a Fork Versus A Spoon Can Aid Weight Loss

Even cutlery can unconsciously affect eating behaviour and weight loss.

Even cutlery can unconsciously affect eating behaviour and weight loss.

People eat less when using a fork than when using a spoon, new research finds.

When eating with spoons, though, people assume the food has a lower amount of calories.

The reason why is fascinating.

Scientists had people eating bite-size pieces of food, such as chocolate cake.

They were asked to eat it either with a spoon or a fork.

Afterwards they estimated how many calories it had, how tasty it was and how much more they’d like to eat.

The results showed that when eating with spoons, people taste the food more gradually.

This leads them to think that each bite is smaller…

…and so they eat more.

So, to help weight loss goals, better to stick to the fork.

The study was published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research (Szocs & Biswas, 2016).

Forks image from Shutterstock

Dieting Advice: Only Eat When Hungry — Sounds Obvious But It’s Hard

Why the most obvious dieting advice is so hard to follow.

Why the most obvious dieting advice is so hard to follow.

It might seem pretty obvious dieting advice: only eat when you’re hungry.

Unfortunately we now all live in an environment in which we are surrounded by food.

And these aren’t just any foods.

These are foods that have been engineered to be as attractive to us as possible.

Chocolates, cheeseburgers, potato chips and so on.

All strike directly at our basest culinary desires.

So people tend to eat when they are not hungry.

The result, according to new research, is that blood sugar may spike after eating.

Rapid blood sugar spikes are often unhealthy as they damage the body’s cells.

The message comes from a study which tested the blood sugar levels of people who were either:

  • moderately hungry before eating or,
  • not hungry.

The study’s concludes that it may be healthier for people to eat when they are moderately hungry rather than not hungry.

Advice we can all agree with I’m sure, but which can be difficult to follow….

The study was published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research (Gal. 2016).

Choosing meal image from Shutterstock

How Healthy Foods Can Hurt Your Weight Loss Goal

Healthy foods can paradoxically lead to weight gain rather than helping weight loss.

Healthy foods can paradoxically lead to weight gain.

People eat more of foods labelled “healthy” as they consider them less filling, a new study finds.

The research suggests that those aiming for weight loss should be wary of inbuilt beliefs about healthy foods.

Over a series of studies, scientists found that people automatically see more healthy foods as less filling than they actually are.

When the same food is portrayed as healthy (as opposed to unhealthy), people:

  • order larger portions of the ‘healthy’ food.
  • eat more of the food labelled as ‘healthy’.
  • report more hunger after eating ‘healthy’ foods.

This was even true of people who said they did not believe that healthy foods were less filling.

Ironically, the labelling of food as healthy could actually be contributing to the obesity crisis.

However, the scientists found a way to reverse this.

By highlighting how nourishing healthy foods are, people’s bias was lessened.

Hopefully this article is doing the same thing — whether or not it will lead to weight loss, you will have to find out!

The study was published in The Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, (Suher et al., 2015).

Fork measuring tape image from Shutterstock

Here’s The Psychological Key to Improving Your Physical Health

The key to weight loss, diet change, quitting smoking and more…

The key to weight loss, diet change, quitting smoking and more…

The more people monitor their progress towards a goal, the more likely they are to succeed.

It also seems to matter how you monitor your progress.

The best techniques are publicly or physically recording progress.

For example, those trying to lose weight should regularly weigh themselves in front of others.

The conclusions come from 138 different studies including 19,951 people.

Most participants were trying to lose weight, quit smoking, lower blood pressure or change their diet.

Dr Benjamin Harkin, who led the research, said:

“Monitoring goal progress is a crucial process that comes into play between setting and attaining a goal, ensuring that the goals are translated into action.”

The more people monitored their progress, the greater their chances of achieving their goal.

One key the researchers uncovered was that it is vital to focus mainly on the end result you are looking for.

For example, if you are trying to lose weight, it’s best to monitor and record just your weight.

Some people trying to lose weight who just monitored their diet only succeeded in changing their diet, not in losing weight.

Dr Harkin said:

“The implication of this finding is if you want to change your diet, then monitor what you are eating, but if you want to lose weight, then focus on monitoring your weight.”

Dr Harkin continued:

“Our findings are of relevance to those interested in changing their behavior and achieving their goals, as well as to those who want to help them, like weight loss programs, money advice agencies or sport coaches.

Prompting people to monitor their progress can help them to achieve their goals, but some methods of monitoring are better than others.

Specifically, we would recommend that people be encouraged to record, report or make public what they find out as they assess their progress.”

The study was published in the journal Psychological Bulletin (Harkin et al., 2015).

Healthy image from Shutterstock

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