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Lifeline

Diet, exercise with a friend

For most of us, diet and exercise are no fun. They are, in fact, the total opposite of anything that could remotely be construed as fun.

But misery loves company. That's why one of the best ways to force ourselves to stick to a healthy eating or fitness regimen is to share the pain.

"What for me was so important was to not do it alone," says Helene Lerner, a serial dieter who struggled with her weight for years. What turned things around for her? "A support buddy. It works. It really works," says Lerner, founder of womenworking.com. She took off 50 pounds and, even more remarkable, has kept it off for decades.

The buddy system works for exercise, too. I enlisted a friend to start running with me. It's a lot harder to say, "I think I'll order a pizza and watch the game," when someone else is waiting in her shorts to go for a run.

For Lerner, the key to losing weight for good was a support group and learning "I was eating for all the wrong reasons. Food is not a reward."

Here are some more tips from Lerner:

Don't be ashamed to ask for help.

Find ways of coping that do not involve food.

Losing even a single pound is a big deal.

Don't beat yourself up if you stumble; start over.

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Gastric bypass benefit

A morsel of good news: Having a gastric bypass gives people a taste for a healthier diet.

To understand why people often say they eat less fat after a bypass, a team led by Carel le Roux of Imperial College London carried out either a gastric bypass or a sham operation on rats (American Journal of Physiology). They found that the bypass rats ate less and regained less weight after the surgery than the others.

The researchers then gave the rats sugar water while infusing corn oil directly into their stomachs, so that the rats had to digest the fat without tasting it. The bypass rats learned to avoid the water, but the others did not. This suggests that the bypass rats avoided high-fat foods, not because they disliked the taste, but because they found it harder to digest after the operation.

Le Roux's team also found that levels of some hormones that make people feel full were higher in rats with a gastric bypass than in the sham-operated rats after eating. They are now doing studies to see if these hormones could be used to tackle obesity.

Compiled from News wire sources

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