by Aaron Tabor
, MD Diet & Anti-Aging Expert
Weight loss is a difficult task for most of us, but just as difficult is keeping the weight off after we have lost it. Unfortunately, many of us regain the weight we lost. This weight regain can occur for many reasons. For some of us, we lost weight following a plan that did not teach us healthy, life-long dietary habits, making it easy to slip back into unhealthy eating habits. In other cases, our weight loss plan did not include an appropriate weight maintenance plan to follow after reaching our weight loss goal. A good weight maintenance plan that is easy to follow for life is important to maintaining a healthy body weight.
A new weight loss study (free to read online) examined the effectiveness of an interactive weight loss website on the maintenance of weight loss. Information from study volunteers in the internet arm of the Weight Loss Maintenance Trial was used in this study to determine the relationship between the usage of the interactive website and successfulness of the volunteers to maintain their weight loss over more than 2 years. Weight loss volunteers were encouraged to log in to the weight loss website at least weekly for 28 months where they could enter their body weight, food records, exercise records, revised goals, and examine their progress, and interact with other study volunteers via bulletin board. Based on log-ins and body weight entries, study volunteers were considered to have "consistent use", "some use", or "minimal use". The weight loss study investigators reported that:
- 61% of the volunteers showed consistent use, 18% showed some use, and 21% showed minimal use of the internet weight loss site.
- Consistent users re-gained less weight than individuals in the "some use" and "minimal use" groups.
- 51% of consistent users maintained a weight loss of at least 9 lbs compared to 27% in the "some use" and 24% in the "minimal use" groups.
- Better weight maintenance was linked to greater number of log-ins to the website, minutes spent on the website, weight and exercise entries, and bulletin board use.
These results show us that an internet website can be an effective weight loss and weight maintenance tool. Like other weight loss or weight maintenance plans, sticking with an internet weight control program can be difficult for many of us. In this study, 39% of the study volunteers found it difficult to consistently use this internet website. However, the majority of those that did consistently use the website were able to maintain their weight loss. Being able to record one's weight and exercise and chat with other people trying to lose weight or maintain their weight loss appear to be important components of a successful weight loss website. This seems to reflect upon the importance of accountability, both to ourselves and to others. Other studies have shown the importance of accountability to weight loss and weight maintenance. Finding a good weight loss partner or an active weight loss website can be an important part of a successful weight management plan.
Aaron Tabor, MD
Diet, Anti-Aging, and Nutritional Cosmetic Expert
Author of Dr. Tabor’s Diet
and FIGHT NOW
Learn more about Dr. Tabor’s diet and anti-aging research at www.DrTabor.com
Learn more about Dr. Tabor’s breast cancer prevention book at www.fightBCnow.com
Funk KL, et al. Associations of internet website use with weight change in a long-term weight loss maintenance plan. Journal of Medical Internet Research 2010; 12(3):e29. URL: https://www.jmir.org/2010/3/e29/