Break Old Habits
According to Ben Fletcher, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire in England, people who push themselves out of their daily routine can better re-examine basic choices about food and exercise. Fletcher gave a group of 55 overweight men and women 15 pairs of contrasting behaviors (i.e., proactive/reactive, introvert/extrovert), then asked them to act out a different one each day. (The challenge arose when withdrawn types had to be outgoing, or when people who normally take the bull by the horns had to sit back and just watch.) Twice a week, they also had to explore novel activities like tuning in to a different radio station or trying a new brand of coffee. When Fletcher checked up on his subjects four months later, they had lost an average of 11 pounds each—without so much as breathing the dreaded D word. After a year, most had kept the weight off and some had lost 40 pounds or more.