Keeping the Pounds Off: What Works
Daily Weigh-Ins, Group Meetings May Help Prevent Weight Regain
WebMD News Archive
Oct. 11, 2006 -- Have you shed some extra pounds? A new medical study
provides tips for keeping the weight off.
People who weigh daily and meet regularly with others trying to maintain a
new, lower weight are more successful, according to the study, published in
The New England Journal of Medicine.
"Most dieters regain about a third of the weight lost during the next
year and are typically back to baseline [their pre-diet weight] in 3 to 5
years," write Rena Wing, PhD, and colleagues.
Her study looked at ways to prevent that.
Wing is a Brown University professor of psychiatry and human behavior. She
directs the Weight Control & Diabetes Research Center at The Miriam
Hospital in Providence, R.I.
Wing also co-founded the National Weight Control Registry, which includes
more than 5,000 adults who have maintained a weight
loss of at least 30 pounds for one year or longer.
Preventing Weight Regain
Wing's team studied 314 adults who had lost at least 10% of their body
weight over the previous two years.
The researchers split the participants into three groups. Each group
followed a different weight-loss maintenance program for 18 months.
One group met face-to-face every week.
Another group followed the same meeting schedule but held their meetings
online, not in person. They received a laptop computer and an Internet
connection, if needed.
For comparison, the third group never held meetings. Instead, those
participants received quarterly newsletters about diet, exercise, and weight
People in the online and in-person meeting groups got other support as
They were encouraged to weigh themselves daily, exercise for an hour a day,
and follow a healthy diet. They also reported their weight weekly and were
coached on weight control.
All participants were weighed six, 12, and 18 months into the study.
Green, Yellow, Red Zones
The researchers color-coded weight gain for participants in the online and
in-person meeting groups.
Those who gained less than 3 pounds were in the "green zone." They
got green gifts, such as green tea or a one-dollar bill, as encouragement.
If they gained 3 to 5 pounds, they were in the "yellow zone" and
were told to work on getting back into the green zone.