Want to Weigh Less? Eat More Often
A new study finds those who’ve lost weight and kept it off tend to eat more often than heavier people — yet still took in fewer daily calories.
Lead researcher Jessica Bachman, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Marywood University in Scranton, PA, was part of a group that profiled 250 people who’d lost significant amounts of weight. The key was to learn how they maintain their weight loss in order to help others lose weight and keep it off.
They found that, on average, subjects with normal weights ate three meals and a little over two snacks each day, whereas the overweight group averaged three meals and just over one snack a day and tended to eat 200 more calories per day overall.
“If you eat more often, it stops you from getting too hungry,” Bachman said. “If you wait 10 hours after you’ve last eaten, you end up eating a lot more food. If you sit down and you’re really hungry, you also tend to eat more calories.”
Unsurprisingly, researchers also learned “weight loss maintainers” are much more physically active, burning off about 2,200 more calories a week through exercise and other activities than their overweight counterparts.
“This is kind of research as a baseline, and from there we can develop some hypotheses,” Bachman said. “Weight loss maintainers are a new group that really is starting to get a lot of attention. The idea is to find out what they are doing, and get other people to do the same thing.”