Behavioral Changes Spur Weight Loss

For those who struggle with weight gain in middle to older age, it can be frustrating trying to find a diet and exercise plan that can be maintained over the long term.  According to research into weight loss trials, behavioral interventions are effective at helping participants drop pounds and reduce their risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure. 

What constitutes behavioral weight loss?  A program that not only takes into account diet and exercise but also lifestyle can successfully help adults shed excess weight and keep it off over time.  Fad diets tend to work well for short periods of time but are difficult to maintain.   But programs that incorporate nutrition and physical activity monitoring along with psychological components to help participants plan ahead, solve problems and avoid relapse are more effective.  And behavioral programs work well without the unpleasant side effects that weight loss medications can sometimes cause. 

According to a recent Harvard Health blog, although there are in-person programs available such as the Diabetes Prevention Program, not all health insurance plans will cover the out-of-pocket expense and some people may not meet the criteria for the intensive lifestyle change program. Check with your doctor for other hospital-based behavioral weight loss programs or enlist friends or family to join you on a weight loss journey; staying motivated and accountable is easier with a support network. 

With advances in weight loss apps, your strategy to success may be right at your fingertips.  Weight Watchers has recently overhauled its program to provide a more holistic approach to weight loss for members; with tools like sleep tracking, activity tracking, stress management, workout classes, recipes, and a barcode scanner.  Other apps that use a lifestyle approach to weight loss include Noom, MyFitnessPal, FitNow, and Fooducate Ltd.

It’s nearly the start of a new week, what small action are you taking today to help create a healthier and happier tomorrow?