In Diet Plans

weight loss counselingHow many times have you tried to lose weight on your own? Were you successful long-term or did you gain the weight back over time? Did you lose motivation, feel frustrated, and quit?

When it comes to weight loss, “going at it alone” is always much more difficult, and less successful, than having support and accountability.

Research shows that for those who attempted to lose weight without support, “more than half of the lost weight was regained within two years, and by five years, more than 80% of lost weight was regained.” Perhaps you have experienced this first-hand.

One of – if not the – most effective methods of feeling supported and accountable is through weight loss counseling. Getting professional and/or peer support through weight loss counseling and coaching programs or nutrition counseling has benefits that far outweigh trying to be successful on your own. In fact, “adults with overweight or obesity who receive weight-loss counseling from a provider are approximately four times more likely to attempt to lose weight than are those who do not receive counseling,” according to the CDC.

Scientific data exemplifies what we know to be true through real-life experience; It is harder to maintain weight loss than to lose it in the first place! This is where we see really positive outcomes with ongoing weight loss counseling. Several studies show that ongoing interaction with healthcare providers or in group settings significantly improves weight maintenance and long-term outcomes, compared with treatments that end after a short period of time. The importance of long-term intervention has been codified in the obesity treatment guidelines, which state that “weight loss interventions should include long-term comprehensive weight loss maintenance programs that continue for at least 1 year”. Similar findings have been shown in another study; “Behavior-based weight loss maintenance interventions are associated with less weight gain after the cessation of interventions, compared with control groups.”

As you can see, not only does weight loss counseling help improve initial weight loss outcomes, but ongoing counseling is essential to maintaining weight loss. Furthermore, counseling has been shown to have a significant improvement in other health outcomes aside from weight loss alone. “Behavior-based weight loss interventions in adults with obesity can lead to clinically significant improvements in weight status and reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes among adults with obesity and elevated plasma glucose levels,” as demonstrated in this article. In addition to reduced incidence of diabetes, counseling has been shown to cause improvements in “weight, pain, joint forces, inflammatory factors, and mobility,” which increases the quality of life and patient satisfaction.

Both group and individual counseling show significant benefits for weight loss and long-term weight maintenance and should be used together to maximize results. Group counseling builds community and connection. It fosters positive relationships between peers. Another study demonstrates even further benefits of group counseling include, “esteem support, such as compliments and validating other’s experiences; network support, tangible support, and emotional support, such as displays of empathy, sympathy, and encouragement.”

Both in-person and online weight loss group counseling sessions are inarguably valuable and offer flexibility and accessibility for patients of varying locations and physical limitations. Individual weight loss counseling with a health professional not only amplifies weight loss success in the short and long term but allows for strong provider-patient relationships that amplify trust and improves outcomes.

Although there is overwhelming research to demonstrate the vast benefits of weight loss counseling and nutrition counseling, research shows “approximately 75% of adults with overweight and 50% of those with obesity are not receiving provider weight-loss counseling.” This data proves there is a large gap to fill and an opportunity to provide care and improve lasting outcomes for those trying to lose weight. The Pound of Cure Program recognizes this gap and has provided a solution by offering affordable, accessible, and encouraging group and individual counseling sessions for members across the country.

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