A plan that sought to change people’s mindsets in order to battle weight gain lacks evidence of being effective, a report shows.

The process was a step-by-step method to change a person’s way of thinking about their lifestyle — and relationship with food — in order to lose weight. The five steps encouraged postive thought towards more healthy ways of living, understanding the need for change, and then to eventually move towards this new mindset. This method is known as the Transtheoretical model.

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It has previously been successful for people wanting to quit smoking, and has also been used in the fight against alcohol and drug addiction.

However, a study involving 4,000 people — including 1,834 overweight people and 2,076 of standard weight, from UK, US, Canada, Netherlands and Australia — found no significant evidence that this formulated way of thinking led to sustained weight loss. Changing one’s mindset, said a nutritionist, simply wasn’t enough.

The problem seems to lie in trying to change people’s dietry habits, which is a difficult thing to achieve — it’s one of the reasons why obesity is such a problem. A dedicated and determined mindset is needed when tackling any challenge, but this study appears to show that weight loss still needs to be tackled with more active and concentrated measures, such as diet plans, eating less and regular exercise.