The weighing game.
Researchers randomly assigned roughly 300 people who had lost an average of 42 pounds in the last year into three groups.
They mailed the control group quarterly newsletters about eating right and exercising. But they taught the two other (intervention) groups techniques to prevent weight gain (eat breakfast, exercise for an hour a day, weigh yourself daily).
One of the intervention groups had face-to-face group meetings, while members of the other got their advice via an online program (once a week for the first month and once a month for the rest of the study).
After 1 1/2 years, 46 percent of those in the face-to-face intervention group had regained at least five pounds, compared to 55 percent of those in the Internet intervention group and 72 percent of those in the control group. When the researchers looked just at the two intervention groups, only 26 percent of those who weighed themselves daily regained at least five pounds, versus 58 percent of those who didn't hit the scales every day.
What to do: If you're trying not to regain the weight you've lost, look for a program (like Weight Watchers) that will help you keep tabs on your weight. And put your feet on the scale every day.
N Engl. J. Med 355: 1563, 2006.