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4 May 2012
As the problem of excess body fat continues to grow, so too does the need for effective solutions. Online weight loss coach, Andrew Cate, looks at the role phone-based support can play in helping you lose weight.
Getting assistance to lose weight
Losing weight is a difficult journey on your own. Fortunately, there are a variety of support services available that can help you get results. Having someone who is checking on your progress can really help to keep you on track. Speaking to a health professional such as a dietician, weight loss coach or naturopath can keep you informed of the latest tools, products and strategies to help manage your weight. But, face-to-face consultations can be difficult to arrange, and the travel time and parking can be a disincentive. Speaking to health professionals over the phone may seem like a great alternative, but is it as effective as face-to-face consultations?
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, phone counselling can be just as effective as face-to-face meetings to help you lose weight1. The researchers randomly divided 415 overweight participants into a control group and two intervention groups. One intervention group received counselling over the phone by a coach (including email and web-based support), while the other group was offered face-to-face counselling1a. After 2 years, the control group lost 1.1% of their body weight, while the phone support group lost 5% and the in-person support group lost 5.2%1b. There was no significant difference in the level of weight change between the intervention groups at any time during the 24 month study. Losing 5% of body weight through phone coaching (and through face-to-face support) is enough to be associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood sugar control and improved heart health1c. One noticeable difference between the two intervention groups was the retention rates, where the phone group participants were more likely to stick with the program over the long-term1d. The researchers believe this may be because phone support is more flexible and convenient to both participants and health practitioners1e.
Using phone based support to help you lose weight
If you are seeking out professional help to support your weight loss efforts, don’t discount phone based services. While the health practitioner could be located anywhere, you can still be accountable to someone and stay on track. You also don’t have to break the bank. Blackmores offers health and wellness support with their free Naturopathic Advisory Service. You can contact a qualified naturopath via phone, online chat or through a detailed email response to your query (click here for more details). It is also important to note that participants in the study mentioned above who successfully lost 5% of their body weight also had access to web-based support. Blackmores Personal Health System provides an individually tailored online health program with personal support from qualified naturopaths. The more support you can muster to help manage your weight, the better.
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