Trying to help a friend keep weight off after a diet sounds like a good idea, but certain kinds of advice may actually have the opposite effect, a new study from Greece suggests.
Researchers surveyed 289 people who successfully lost weight and kept it off for more than a year, and 122 people who lost weight, but then regained it shortly afterwards. Participants were asked detailed questions about their diet, physical activity and the kinds of support they received from friends and family.
Surprisingly, the results showed that people who regained weight reported receiving more support overall from their family and friends. Hoping to get to the bottom of this puzzling finding, the researchers dug into the data, looking at each question participants answered about the kinds of support they got.
They found that, for the “regainers”, support often came in the form of reminders about what they should and shouldn’t’ do. For example, compared to people who maintained their weight loss, the people who regained weight reported more frequently that their friends and family reminded them not to eat high-fat foods, or reminded them to be physically active.