A new study can reveal a few tips to weight watchers because it shows the practices that help people to lose weight and those that help them maintain weight loss are quite different.
"No one announces to a dieter, 'You're moving into the weight-maintenance stage. You'll have to do things differently'," said lead author Christopher Sciamanna, M.D.
His group investigated whether two distinct sets of behaviors and thought patterns were involved in weight loss and its maintenance.
Sciamanna's group surveyed a random sample of 1,165 adults by telephone. Some had been successful at losing weight; some had also maintained a weight loss.
They asked them about 36 things they might do and think about to lose weight and keep it off. The researchers defined long-term success as losing at least 30 pounds and keeping if off for a year.
Fourteen practices were associated with either successful loss or successful weight loss maintenance, but not both.
The overlap between practices associated with weight loss and those associated with weight loss maintenance was 61 percent, not much higher than that expected by chance.
"If the two stages do demand different practices, then weight loss programs might need to guide people about key strategies for each phase explicitly," said Sciamanna.
The study will be published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.