“The study found that women who spent eight weeks mastering weight-maintenance skills before embarking on a weight-loss program shed the same number of pounds as women who started a weight-loss program immediately.”
The maintenance weeks done before the actual dieting commences act like a practice run by forcing women learn to stabilize their eating patterns. Those maintenance skills included:
“Searching out low-fat or low-calorie foods that taste as good as high-fat/high-calorie options to avoid feelings of deprivation; occasionally eating and savoring small amounts of favorite high-fat/high-calorie foods; weighing daily to see how their body weight naturally fluctuates from day to day; identifying a personalized weight-fluctuation range of about 5 pounds to account for common disruptions, such as water gain and vacations; strategically losing a few pounds before a known disruption (such as a vacation) to minimize its effects; and eating a little more when reaching the lower limit of the personalized 5-pound range.”
The result has been pretty impressive. By learning maintenance first, those who participated in the study gained back only 3 pounds compared to those who didn’t do the maintenance first diet, who gained back 7.