A new study from Drexel University shows that teaching dieters the tough reality of losing weight might actually be the key to long-term weight loss1. The study, performed by psychologists over a three-year period, followed more than 250 overweight and obese individuals. The subjects were placed into three different weight loss groups including behavior therapy, behavior therapy with meal replacements, or modifying the home food environment (HFE).
HFE Resulted in Greater Weight Loss
While positive reinforcement, boosting willpower, and a commitment to a healthy diet and exercise are key, the diet clearly shows that the sobering reality of weight loss actually reinforced the test subjects’ desire to succeed. The study’s co-author, Michael Lowe, Ph.D., says, “You can’t just give advice. Asking people to make healthy decisions, when there are thousands of food choices available, is both emotionally challenging and also complicated.”2
Factoring in Cognitive Restraint
The study’s results clearly show that the sobering reality of weight loss seemed to resonate more than constant encouragement to eat healthily. The warnings increased a level of restraint in the test subjects, as well as a level of accountability that they might not have otherwise had. As Lowe says, “HFE treatment is really about mechanically trying to ensure that these changes are made, so the level of chronic temptation generated by foods in their homes is reduced.”
Change Both Your Grocery List and Your Mindset
This unique Drexel study shows us that, while positivity is essential, reducing the clutter in diets – and our homes – is by far the most important. For example, advocates of a ketogenic diet will attest, removing the carbs from the home is essential for long-term success. Likewise, to embark on any weight loss journey, you need to remove temptations from your shopping list and your household, first and foremost. If they don’t exist, you won’t be nearly as inclined to reach for them.
And, above all else, remember that weight loss is hard, and it requires time, effort, and consistent perseverance towards the end goal. Ultimately, the study shows that the combined power of physical work and mental discipline can lead to greater weight loss.
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