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CNN Today

Talk Diet: 'The Solution' for Weight Loss

Aired October 18, 2000 - 1:39 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, if you thought you heard it all, maybe you haven't. Some of the diet experts are now saying that you can lose weight by talking.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: They are not talking about discussion burning calories. But apparently it's a kind of a diet therapy. Hey, whatever works.

CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen will explain it to you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gently close your eyes.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It hardly seems at all like a weight-loss program.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have some feelings of anger and fear, and lots of happiness, and I feel loved.

(APPLAUSE)

COHEN: In fact, it seems more like group therapy. There's no special diet or exercise plan, no foods to buy, no pills to take. The theory: overeating is all about emotions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many people eat when they're lonely?

COHEN: So you have to figure out why you eat so much.

LAUREL MELLIN, UNIV. OF CALIF. SAN FRANCISCO: The way we do it is gently, to go inside of ourselves and practice these skills of self-nurturing and effective limits until those drives to overeat are gone.

COHEN: Participants keep journals and call each other when they're tempted to binge. There are 150 groups in the United States that use this program, called "The Solution." They meet every week with a psychologist and dietitian. It's recommended patients stay with the program for a year, which costs about $2,300. It's not usually covered by insurance.

At the annual meeting of the American Dietetic Association being held this week, the program is announcing some promising results. In the study, 19 people were in the program for about four months. They lost weight, but what some experts find particularly impressive is that they kept it off. Six years later, participants were 17 pounds lighter than before they'd entered the program.

(on camera): Some diet experts are wary. They say the study is small, and preliminary, and the results sound more anecdotal than scientific. But others are impressed.

BARBARA MOORE, SHAPE-UP AMERICA!: Six-year data is very unusual in this field, and I think that Laurel Mellin is breaking new ground in that respect.

COHEN (voice-over): Part of the reason for the success, patients say, is simply the support. They say it's easier to lose weight when you know you're not alone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you made one community connection, please stand.

(APPLAUSE)

COHEN: Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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