It's Not How Fast You Lose Weight That Matters, It's How You Keep It Off

For many, weight loss is less of a final destination and more of an eternal journey. Though it’s certainly not impossible to reach your ideal weight, it’s common for weight to fluctuate during certain periods. Suffice to say, most of us will have to lose weight at some point in our lives. It’s commonly understood that the best way to lose weight and keep it off is to do so nice and slowly. The thought is that if you lose weight very quickly, you’ll be more likely to gain it back just as quickly. Many health professionals still recommend slow weight loss, but a researcher in Australia is claiming everyone who loses weight has the same difficulty in keeping it off in the future. The corresponding study also found those who lost weight quickly were more likely to reach their ideal weight than their slow and steady peers.

Joseph Proietto with Sir Edward Dunlop, Professor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne authored the study designed to put the slow weight loss ideal to the test. Though this method is often suggested by health authorities, Proietto said he wanted to apply some science to test the merits of this belief. To conduct the study, Proietto and his team ran a two-part trial wherein 200 obese adults were tasked with shedding some pounds.

The obese participants were randomly separated into two groups, a fast-losing group and a slow-losing group. The former was given 12 weeks to lose the weight with a liquid meal replacement diet of less than 800 calories a day. The latter group had 36 weeks to lose the weight through a diet of healthy eating consisting of about 400 to 500 calories less than they typically consumed. 

In the second part of the study, those participants from either group who had lost over 12 percent of their weight were allowed to continue a weight maintenance program accompanied with regular visits to a dietician. According to the study, more of the fast losing group, 81 percent, lost 12.5 percent of their body weight compared to just 50 percent of the gradual weight loss group. Yet, after the diets were over, 71 percent of participants in either group gained back every pound they previously lost. 

In other words, this study found the most difficult part about weight loss isn’t losing the weight, but keeping the weight off. In fact, this study found that only about 15 percent of those who reach their ideal weight are able to keep it off.

Weight loss is a mental endeavor, one which requires a shift in thought and a change in lifestyle. By keeping yourself active and choosing to steer away from poor food choices, you’ll have a better chance at keeping the weight off. Keeping some light exercise equipment in your home is a good way to remind yourself to stay active, and if your office has exercise equipment available, take advantage of it before or after work. If your company doesn’t offer any exercise equipment or health benefits, ask them to consider installing a small gym or room dedicated to exercise.