Have you tried everything to lose weight without success? If you’re ready to give up on reaching your ideal body, you may be interested in a new study that suggests that weight counseling by phone and by the internet can increase the chances of successfully losing weight.
This study carried out by Dutch researchers may give hope to women who have difficulty losing weight on their own, yet can’t afford the expense of a high priced weight loss counselor or dietician. The participants in this study were all given similar weight loss literature and self-help materials but two of the groups received weight counseling by phone and by the internet respectively. The third control group received no counseling, only self-help material. The phone and internet counselors encouraged the participants to follow a healthy diet plan and urged them to increase their level of physical activity.
At the end of a six month period, it was found that the two experimental groups who received phone or internet counseling lost more weight and lowered their fat intake to a great extent than did the control group who received only self-help diet literature. The participants in the phone counseling group also had greater increases in physical activity.
A meta-analysis of 46 trials published in the Annals of Internal Medicine also came to the conclusion that weight counseling is effective for weight loss with more frequent counseling sessions being more beneficial than less frequent ones. Unfortunately, by the end of the three year period, half of the people had regained the weight, and at five years, none of the subjects had retained their weight loss.
Although the researchers didn’t offer an explanation as to why the groups who received weight counseling by phone or by the internet, lost more weight, it would seem that such contact would provide more structure and accountability for the person attempting to lose weight. Such accountability can play a big role in whether or not a person succeeds with their weight loss goals. Phone and internet support provide an easy way for an overweight person to receive counseling without the time constraints and potential embarrassment of meeting with a counselor face to face.
The bottom line? Phone or internet weight counseling provides a good support system that can make weight loss success more likely. Unfortunately, because most people don’t retain their weight loss long term, periodic follow up counseling may be needed to encourage exercise and healthy eating habits.