Study Links Steadily Shedding the Pounds to Long-Term Weight Loss

by editor on October 11, 2017

long-term weight loss success

The results of a new study suggest that long-term weight loss is more likely to be successful when the pounds are reduced slowly and steadily. Though this likely doesn’t come as a surprise to some, it helps to underscore the fact that attempts to lose weight quickly only increase the risk of seeing it come back again.

The long-term weight loss study was published in the Obesity journal by a Massachusetts General Hospital postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Emily Feig, and her team. They found that when weight drops quickly, it will usually rise again. However, when a steady schedule of healthy eating and exercise is maintained over time, the pounds that come off are more likely to stay gone.

Dr. Feig pointed out that regardless of how strictly dieters attempt to adhere to their diets, some are more successful than others at achieving consistent fat loss. She proposed that a number of physiological factors may be involved. Overall, however, the recommendation is to attempt to keep up a strategy of healthy eating and consistent eating from one day to the next in order to attain long-term weight loss.

Among the tips Dr. Feig recommended included planning ahead and prepping food in advance on days off. The idea is to reduce the inclination to eat at restaurants or to make impulsive choices about what they should be eating. “Building a habit of healthy, consistent eating can help patients reduce weight variability and lose weight more consistently, even if it’s at a slow pace,” she said.

The research included the participation of 183 adults who were either overweight or were suffering from obesity. They were primarily women and predominantly Caucasian, living near Philadelphia. They took part in a weight loss program over a period of one year. Throughout that time, they received counseling for their diet and exercise. Their weight was measured, tracked and analyzed weekly for the entire length of the program. Mandatory assessment meetings took place at the 6, 12 and 24 month marks.

The researchers determined that there was a connection between the variability in weight loss occurring during the first six and 12 weeks of the program, with the weight loss occurring at 12 and 24 months. The more variable the weight loss earlier on, the less weight was being lost later.

The researchers suggested that more consistent weight loss early on helps to predict who will be able to keep weight under control over the longer term.

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