No doubt the hallmark study of the European Congress on Obesity was that involving eating vs. inactivity as a cause of obesity.

However, when perusing the other studies from this conference, a recurring theme on the importance of behaviour modification strategies for weight maintenance was evident. Here are the details of the findings:

Scottish researchers (lead by Susan Murray, MA, University of Aberdeen) looked at which weight loss interventions were most effective at maintaining an initial weight loss of more than 10% body weight. The weight-loss trials included only the most rigorously controlled studies which looked at the following interventions:

  * Lifestyle
  * Behavioural
  * Pharmacological
  * Surgical

Researchers found that studies combining high intensity behavioural change techniques with changes in diet were the most successful at keeping weight off during the maintenance period. Here is a breakdown of the rates of weight maintenance in the different groups:

Combined diet/Behavioural change: 89.5% of initial weight loss.
Diet only: 60.4%.
Pharmacological: 81.5% (drug interventions were always accompanied by dietary/behavioural guidance).

Which Behaviour Techniques Work Best?

The 3 most common (and successful) intervention included:

1. Food Logs
2. Education on making healthy choices
3. Identifying barriers to success

A second study (Mirjam Lips, MD, Leiden University) involving type II diabetics showed similar success. Not only did participants reap better BMI and blood sugar readings as a result of the lifestyle intervention, but 87% of the patients were still in the study after week 65.

Parting Words

This just goes to show that a weight loss (fat loss) journey requires a change in lifestyle, and a change in lifestyle requires a change in behaviour. It all seems to relate back to developing a healthy mindset.

If you find you've been struggling with weight or just need to know where to start, try the following:

  * Start a food log today
  * Write down any potential barriers to success
  * Write down how you are going to tackle those obstacles
  * Make simple dietary substitutions to include more dark-coloured produce, good sources of protein and other nutrient-rich foods.
  * Make exercise a daily part of your life and include strength training.

Source: Eureka Alerts