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“People who maintained their successful weight loss the longest reported greater frequency and repetition in healthy eating choices,” said kinesiology and public health professor Suzanne Phelan in a news release. “Healthier choices also became more automatic the longer people continued to make those choices. These findings are encouraging for those working at weight loss maintenance. Over time, weight loss maintenance may become easier, requiring less intentional effort.”
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Phelan led the study in which researchers surveyed the weight management strategies of nearly 5,000 members of WW, formerly Weight Watchers. The members reported a median loss of 50 pounds and maintained it for over three years. That group was compared to a control group of over 500 people with obesity who reported than in a period of more than five years, they had not gained or lost more than five pounds.
Reviewing 54 behaviors related to managing weight loss, researchers found that the people who maintained their weight loss had more frequently reported using strategies like measuring food, recording what they ate that day and remaining positive about possibly regaining weight.
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The study comes weeks after an Offers.com survey revealed that in Georgia, the No. 1 new year's resolution was boosting fitness. While diets like the keto diet, which focuses on cutting out carbs and consuming high-fat foods, have gained popularity, the Mayo Clinic says people should instead consume a calorie-controlled diet and increase physical activity.
"Any extra movement helps burn calories," the Mayo Clinic said in a list of weight loss strategies. "Think about ways you can increase your physical activity throughout the day if you can't fit in formal exercise on a given day. For example, make several trips up and down stairs instead of using the elevator, or park at the far end of the lot when shopping."