Weight loss strategies range from the simple to the absurdly complex. There are logical prospects, such as restricting calories and exercising more. Others are more drastic or outlandish, using fads like steam rooms, sweat suits and medical procedures.
But science has found people that lose a steady amount of weight over time use a series of common-sense, effective weight loss strategies that anyone can implement effectively.
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One study, conducted by researchers from the California Polytechnic State University, looked at almost 5,000 members of the weight loss collective WW, formerly Weight Watchers. The study examined effective (and not so effective) strategies common in those who prevented weight gain as well as steady weight losers.
The study found a few common threads in those who exhibited consistent weight loss maintenance, or people who lost weight consistently during their membership. Some of the most effective strategies are listed below:
- Setting daily food intake goals
- Recording what was eaten each day
- Measuring foods
- Thinking about past successes
- Remaining positive in the face of weight regain
These are all pretty common-sense solutions and mindsets when it comes to weight loss, especially the first two. Setting expectations and goals for yourself is a great way to break habits such as overeating, while it's been found keeping track of what you've eaten helps enormously with weight loss goals. A study published way back in 2008 showed that people who monitor their diet by keeping food diaries lose around double the amount of weight as those who don't keep track of what they eat.
In addition, it helps to reinforce your new habit by thinking about past successes. One study, published in the scientific journal Cognitive Therapy and Research, found people with optimistic expectations lost more weight than those with negative expectations, and were more likely to attend weight loss programme meetings.
The bottom line? Diet pills, sweat suits and drastic medical procedures are likely to provide inconsistent results. The best ways to lose weight seem to be the simplest: track your progress, set achievable goals and stay positive.