Struggling to lose weight? The trick might lie in spending time on the internet

Two women support each other in their wellness goals
Two women support each other in their wellness goals

A new study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine has revealed that having online support was most effective for people to lose weight and reduce weight circumference for up to two years.

The work:

The trial was conducted with 532 participants who partook in different areas of support. These included cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)-based group counselling, self-help guidance-based group counselling and a control group. Each of those groups either had and internet-based health behaviour change support system (HBCSS) or did not.

READ MORE: Study finds that pasta can actually help you lose weight, not gain it.

Regardless of the type of counselling, those who engaged in HBCSS experienced significantly higher success at losing weight and keeping the weight off. Even the control group who received HBCSS had a high success rate; an average of a 1.6% weight loss at 24 months.

The winning combination was CBT-based counselling with HBCSS. This group had the greatest weight reduction and in the follow up did not have significant weight gain. At 12 months, the average weight loss was 4.1% and at 24 months it was 3.4%.

READ MORE: 5 ways to lose weight when you have no time to cook or exercise

The why:

Dr. Tuire Salonurmi, co-lead author, of the University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital says this shows how weight loss treatments need to be personalised. “Modifiable tools based on scientific evidence are needed for personalised treatment of obesity. HBCSS combined with cognitive behavioural group therapy or as a stand-alone treatment provides us with such a modifiable method for personalised medicine.”

There’s a reason for the saying “different people, different diets”. And that’s why your mate might’ve lost a large amount of weight on a diet whilst you saw no changes or even worse, gained weight. A 2015 study found that the way different people metabolise food is extremely different. This means what is a healthy weight loss-assisting meal for one person could have the exact opposite effect on another.

READ MORE: 8 factors that make it harder to lose weight as you get older

So really, the takeaway here is that you can’t hop onto the latest diet fad or copy your mate’s diet and expect to see dramatic results. Your diet needs to be tailored to your body. And more than that, you need support when you’re trying to lose weight. If you’re not getting that from friends and family, turn to an online support group. They can help keep you accountable and you will make some friends. It’s a win, win!

This article was originally published in Men's Health SA

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