Weigh yourself everyday to keep weight gain at bay, says a Rhode Island researcher. Much like the apple a day ...cliché, yet is not to be dismissed as the fertile imagination of a maverick researcher, which can actually be the saving grace of many regimented weight control programmes. And while you weigh the pros and cons of such a move, let us give you the background story of why the most famous 'don't' of almost all weight loss programmes stands challenged.
This study which can be found in detail in the New England Journal of Medicine, with the title 'Study to Prevent Regain', or 'STOP Regain' , involved 314 people from the Rhode Island area who had already lost a great amount of weight and desired to maintain the weight loss. The participants were asked to check their weight on a daily basis along with participation in meetings and interaction with therapists.
The finding revealed that nearly 50% of the program's participants, who were 42 pounds lighter before enrolling in the program, successfully maintained their weight within 5 pounds over 18 months, as opposed to the 25% who did not participate and could not manage to stop the regain.
It was also found that participants who received encouragement and information through meetings- through the internet and one-on-one, helped maintain weight. In effect weighing oneself everyday helped the enthusiasts hasten their response to even seemingly inconsequential weight gains.
Rena R. Wing, the study's lead author and director of the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at Miriam Hospital, also a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University said "We know how to get people to lose weight. We don't know how to get them to keep it off. This worked. This is one of the very few efforts to improve maintenance where we really were successful."
Ed Messier, 63, of North Smithfield, who had lost 46 pounds prior to his enrolment in the study said. "That was the single most important tool as far as I'm concerned. If you've gained one pound, two pounds, you can do something. Once you're five, seven, ten pounds over, you're discouraged already and it's much harder."
Robert J. Kuczmarski, director of the Obesity Prevention and Treatment Program at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, said "The main message is that people need to accept a greater responsibility for their personal health behaviors. And this is the way to do it. Daily weighing and personal interaction with therapists along with peer support make a significant difference."