A new study has shown that women who do a 'practice run' of their chosen diet before they start restricting calories are better at losing weight and keeping it off.
The results are being hailed as a miracle solution for women who are stuck in a pattern of yo-yo dieting or those who lose weight, but immediatley put it back on a few weeks later.
Scientists looked at 267 overweight or obese women who either started a weight loss regime straight away or spent eight weeks learning about dieting, nutrition and weight management skills before starting their programme.
This group were not expected to lose any weight during this period and if they did lose any pounds they were asked to gain them again in the interest of fairness!
After a further 20 weeks, all of the women involved lost an average of 17 pounds, even with the eight week 'diet training' time difference. A year later the 'diet-training' participants had only regained three pounds, compared with a seven pound regain for the 'immediate diet' group.
Michaela Kiernan of Stanford University School of Medicine, in California, said, 'Those eight weeks were like a practice run. We found that waiting those eight weeks didn't make the women any less successful at losing weight. But even better, women who practised first were more successful in maintaining that loss after a year."
She added, "This approach helps people learn how to make small, quick adjustments that can help them maintain their weight without a lot of effort."
Scientists are convinced that yo-yo dieting is worse for our health than maintaining an unhealthy weight, so this adjustment time could help you break the cycle.
Experts at the Stanford Prevention Research Centre suggest women pay 'relaxed attention' to their weight in ways that can be maintained over the long term. These 'stability skills' include searching out low fat foods and finding a variety of healthy snacks that you enjoy over time.
A diet warm-up might sound strange, but it could be a helpful technique when starting your Christmas slim-down.
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