Conventional wisdom says if you want to lose weight, you have to pick an exercise program and stick with it-but experts say that's actually not the case.
Subjects who participated in a weight-loss program were more successful at dropping pounds than those who didn't, according to the Penn State study. "If you go to a group-based program every week or every other week, you'll lose weight," says Dr. Sciamanna. "But the key is to keep going. Studies show that most people drop out within a month."
From juice to soda to pasta sauce, sugar sneaks into our diets in so many ways. "In addition to being high in calories, sugary foods tend to be very low in overall nutrition. And the more sugar you feed your taste buds, the more sugar they want," says Kirkpatrick.
In the Penn State study, subjects who reported following a consistent workout routine were almost twice as likely to maintain their weight loss than those who didn't. "We found that earlier in the process, people who experimented with different forms of exercise were more successful. But over time, it becomes about a routine," explains Dr. Sciamanna. "It has to be something you don't need to think about, and that fits into your life easily."
"We live in a carb-laden world," says Dr. Sciamanna. And unfortunately, most of the carbs within easy reach aren't of the high-fiber, whole-grain variety. Take a peek at your office vending machine and what do you see? Pretzels, chips, cookies and candy bars, most likely. "These snacks will only fill you up for a short period of time," says Kirkpatrick. "You'll be looking for something else to eat shortly after."
"In our research, we found that a few cognitive practices were particularly useful for weight loss maintenance," says Dr. Sciamanna. So what exactly is a cognitive practice? Nothing more than a thought or mantra that you try to think of often.