Personal coach may be key to keeping pounds off

Two recent studies found dieters who receive personal coaching keep more weight of in the long run.

In the first study, 1,032 dieters who had lost at least 9 pounds in a previous trial, were assigned to either monthly personal coaching, on-line counseling or left to their own devices. While everyone regained some weight after two and a half years, those in the personal-coaching group regained 3.3 pounds less than the self-directed group.

Another study found a doctor's communication style affects weight loss.

Researchers recorded conversations between 40 primary care physicians and 461 of their overweight or obese patients. After three months, the patients whose doctors talked about dieting in a motivational way were more likely to shed weight than patients whose doctors used a more judgmental style.

Patients with motivational doctors lost about 3 ½ pounds 3 months after their office visit, while the others maintained or gained weight.

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