by Jessica Girdwain
Double dip to lose weight fast. Tackling diet and exercise goals at the same time produces better results than focusing on one before the other, says a new study in Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
Researchers split inactive people with poor eating habit into three groups: one that started an exercise program, then a diet a few months later; another that dieted first, then exercised; and a third that initiated both. A year later, the third group was the only one that still met guidelines for exercise and healthy eating.
The findings challenge common weight loss advice to work on one healthy habit at a time. But making both healthy behaviors a priority from the beginning helps make sure one doesn’t slip off your radar, says lead researcher Abby C. King, Ph.D., a professor at Stanford University’s School of Medicine.
The key to success is small, gradual changes, says King. For example, use a pedometer to log more steps than you did the day before, and add one more fruit a day (or nix the chips with lunch). You’ll be able to build on your initial changes in the later weeks to achieve bigger goals—and results, King says.