Can experts in behavior change help boost weight loss for overweight people?
McGill University researchers think so: they report significant results—up to 10% of body-mass loss with this approach.
The team worked with nearly 200 overweight participants (both men and women) using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in a year-long program to achieve greater weight loss in a group setting.
Their results suggest that cognitive behavioural therapy skills of the coaches (clinical psychology doctoral students) who delivered the program were a key factor in the treatment outcome.
In addition, the regular tracking of eating and physical activity on online platforms like MyFitnessPal or myhealthcheckup is very important too.
Group-based weight loss programs normally lead to only around 3-5% weight loss.
The researchers sought ways to improve the efficacy of these programs through a stronger focus on habit change.
The researchers found that behavioural weight loss programs should be administered by experts in behavior change.
A significant amount of weight loss was achieved in a group-based program—10% (roughly translating into 10kg per person) in 12 months on average.
Most participants maintained this weight loss one year after program end.
One group that did not benefit as much from the program are individuals who overeat in response to negative emotions (emotional eaters).
The findings, published in the journal Obesity, “show that a great amount of weight loss can be achieved in a group setting using CBT,” says Prof. Knäuper.
“We are currently examining what factors contributed to the excellent weight loss results and we’re continuing our investigation into how integrating CBT optimizes weight-loss as well as developing programs that are better suited for emotional eaters.”.
Source: McGill University.