According to researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, obese Americans are trying to lose weight — and many are successful.
“I was surprised by how many people in our study had success,” says lead researcher Dr. Jacinda Nicklas, a clinical research fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. “We have this impression that it is really difficult for obese people to lose weight, but no, they are losing weight. Even if it’s a modest amount, you don’t have to be thin to have a nice health effect.”
How did the successful losers do it? Here’s what didn’t work: using fad techniques like 30-day liquid cleanses, taking nonprescription diet pills and eating “diet” foods. Obese Americans who reported weight loss were more likely to steer clear of the so-called latest and greatest in dieting and instead adopt the classic technique of eating less and exercising more, reporting that they “drank lots of water” and “ate less fat,” for example.
The most popular strategies were eating less, exercising more, eating less fat and switching to lower-calorie foods. People who used commercial weight-loss programs and prescription weight-loss pills also saw success, but only a small portion of the study participants used them. Meanwhile, liquid diets, nonprescription diet pills and popular diets showed no association with weight loss.