Maintain Weight, Then Diet
A weight loss program devised by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine asked participants not to lose any weight for the first eight weeks. The hypothesis was that if the women could master the art of maintaining without gaining, they would be more successful at eventually paring off pounds. The tactic worked.
A release from the University quotes lead author Michaela Kiernan PhD as saying, “Those eight weeks were like a practice run. Women could try out different stability skills and work out the kinks without the pressure of worrying about how much weight they had lost. We found that waiting those eight weeks didn’t make the women any less successful at losing weight. But even better, women who practiced stability first were more successful in maintaining that loss after a year.”
The study was published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. The release says that over the years, Kiernan has interviewed both those who have succeeded and those who have failed at keeping the pounds off. She was particularly struck by one woman who said that she had never “maintained” her weight in her life. She was always either losing or gaining.
“She had no sense what she was aiming for,” Kiernan said. “We wanted to see if there was a way to help people get away from this all-or-nothing approach that is associated with losing weight.”