Research Reveals That Sticking to a Diet is More Important Than the Diet Itself

by Michael Lovitch of

Investigators from Tufts-New England Medical Center (Journal of the American Medical Association, January 2005) studied 160 overweight adults who wanted to lose weight, and randomly placed each person into one of four popular diets:

  • The Ornish low-fat diet
  • The Atkins low-carbohydrate diet
  • The Zone low-glycemic index diet
  • The Weight-Watchers low-calorie diet

After one year, the investigators found that subjects on average achieved modest weight loss for all four of the diets, with no differences according to diet type.

According to the data gathered over the period of one year, each of the four diet plans were equally successful in decreasing body fat. Variations in success of the diets were only found in the ability of individuals to adhere to the given plan.

"Statistical analysis showed that all four diets were equally successful at decreasing body weight by about six pounds and equally difficult to stay on for a one-year period. Not surprisingly, the key to successful weight loss in this investigation was to strictly adhere to the diet plan."

--Dansinger ML, Gleason JA, Griffith JL, Selker HP, and Schaefer EJ. Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets for Weight Loss and Heart Disease Risk Reduction: A Randomized Trial.

This study (and many others like it) clearly points out that, no matter what diet plan you choose for your goals, the most important aspect of the plan will be remaining on the diet.

Obviously real change requires more than initial commitment to the idea of losing weight, or staying healthy. There are many people who require diet changes because of diabetes or other conditions, and yet they face the same problems when attempting to alter their dietary lifestyle.

Where most fail is in the mental space between how we think and how we act. Diet and nutritional plans alone simply do not address the need to permanently change behavior at the core level of thought and action.

Dr. Mercola, who created a very effective diet plan, agrees that real change comes from the ability to set effective goals and to realize true emotional changes surrounding the issues that prevent stable change in our diet.

"Despite the fact that emotional barriers are by far the most common reason why people ultimately fail on their diets, most popular diet programs do nothing to address this issue."

-- Dr. Mercola

Learning the skills necessary for diet adherence requires the help of a professional who understands the emotional and mental issues of losing weight.

Two Very Effective Tools

There are two very powerful tools that a well-trained therapist can use to help you stick to a healthy eating and exercise plan over the long term: EFT (The Emotional Freedom Technique) and Medical Hypnosis.

Dr. Mercola has discussed EFT at length in this newsletter, so I will not go into detail. It is very clear that EFT is a valuable technique for weight loss because once you learn the procedure, it will help you reduce cravings and spontaneous snacking, while resolving the deeper emotional issues getting in the way of your weight loss success.

Medical Hypnosis, used by psychologists and medical professionals, has a solid research foundation supporting its sound effectiveness for diet adherence:

In a meta-analysis, comparing the results of adding hypnosis to weight loss treatment across multiple studies showed that adding hypnosis increased weight loss by an average of 97% during treatment, and even more importantly increased the effectiveness POST TREATMENT by over 146%. This shows that hypnosis works even better over time (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1996).

In a study of 60 women separated into hypnosis versus non-hypnosis groups, the groups using hypnosis lost an average of 17 pounds, while the non-hypnosis group lost an average of only .5 pounds (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1986).

In a nine-week study of two weight management groups (one using hypnosis and one not using hypnosis), the hypnosis group continued to get results in the two-year follow-up, while the non-hypnosis group showed no further results (Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1985).

It is clear that when hypnosis sessions are added to various weight loss programs, the results are always more successful -- more than 146% better over the long term.

The studies referred to above were performed with hypnosis sessions created by licensed psychologists with experience in weight loss issues. This is what separates effective hypnosis from the 'miracle solutions.' 


Losing weight requires both a well designed diet plan, and the personal ability to adhere to that plan on a daily basis.

The two best tools that you can use in the privacy of your own home are EFT and hypnosis.  This site has great EFT resources and when looking for hypnosis it is important to find a program created by a therapist with an extensive weight loss background.

The Hypnosis Network publishes a program specifically designed for this area of support (as well as several other programs for various issues where the research supports hypnosis as an effective treatment). Our mission is to find the best therapist for each issue, providing the best therapeutic support hypnosis has to offer.

After careful review, we recommend Dr. Roberta Temes (who is on the faculty of the psychiatry department in the Medical School of the SUNY Health Science Center) because of her background in weight loss research and the results she gets with weight loss clients. 

To learn more about Dr. Temes' weight loss hypnosis program click here.


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