Losing weight is not easy, especially when it comes to large amounts of it. Statistics show that most people who shed pounds through calorie restricting gain them back in a short period of time. Scientists have always been puzzled by this phenomenon and have discovered that your body works against you when you’re losing weight. A study shows that for every two pounds you lose, your body craves 100 extra calories, and your metabolism also slows down, fighting to preserve your weight.
It might be cliche, but evidence suggests that changing your relationship with food is more important than whatever diet you’re following.
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A new study published in the International Journal Of Obesity puts an emphasis on habits and how much they influence our body weight. According to the research, weight-loss interventions that focus on making or breaking habits are the ones that deliver the best long-term results, even a year after the subjects first started to lose weight.
The Conversation reports that the study recruited 75 volunteers with excess weight, with their ages ranging from 18 to 75. They were split into three groups with different weight-loss programs: one promoted breaking old habits, another promoted forming new habits, and the third one was the control group where there was no outside intervention. None of the weight-loss programs offered a diet or a workout schedule that subjects had to follow.
The group that promoted breaking old habits encouraged subjects to shake up their routines via going to work through different routes, or sitting down and writing a story. The group that promoted forming new habits was the most efficient, drilling into their subjects that healthy eating and being active is something that they should incorporate into their routines. These subjects were asked to create an eating schedule, to try to walk more regularly every day, and to switch fatty snacks for healthy ones.
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After 12 weeks, members of both groups that focused on changing habits lost an average of 6.8 lbs. An even more important result was the fact that, after 12 months of no interaction with the researchers, participants of both groups lost an average of 4.6 lbs. While it’s not a lot of weight, it’s an improvement that’s constant and that influences the subject’s quality of life.
Studies like this one might help us approach weight-loss differently — not by encouraging unhealthy and complicated diets, but by adopting a less sedentary lifestyle.