Recent research reveals that losing weight slowly, but steadily, is far better for long-term weight loss versus losing a drastic amount of weight quickly … only to gain those pounds back.
Study’s lead author, Emily Feig, suggested that a consistent schedule of routine exercise and healthy diet can help keep weight management steady. She adds that based on her research, it is recommended to keep eating habits similar daily; plan ahead, add food prepping to your weekly activities on Sunday, and decrease eating out at restaurants, since this can create ‘impulsive’ eating decision-making, which can go against your healthy-eating strategy.
CNN reported that the research team had over 180 obese/overweight adults, white women for the most part, who lived close to Philadelphia. The group was part of a weight-loss schedule where they received diet and exercise counseling. Their weight was tracked from the get-go and analyzed on a weekly basis. Participants went to assessment meetings held at six months, a year, then two years.
The study team discovered that high weight variability (yo-yoing weight management) early in the program (six to 12 months) was a measurement around predicting whether or not individual would struggle with weight control by the end of the study. Feig did note that additional research is needed to understand the significance around the connection of early weight variability and weight control long-term. Still, past studies have indicated that the total amount of weight one losses in the first few weeks can predict how they do as time progresses in regard to maintenance. If an individual struggled with weight variability from the get go, they may be setting themselves up for failure. Consistency is key.
It’s important to note, the research did have limitations. Moreover, 81 percent of the participants were female, so additional research is needed to find results that represent a fair sample of both men and women. While the study was done over a two-year period, it also didn’t substantially reflect ‘long-term’ findings.
Weight variability research has not only dived into the idea of weight loss/gain, but health issues in the future. According to another study conducted by the American Heart Association in 2016, ‘yo-yo’ diets were shown to enhance the risk around coronary heart disease death and sudden cardiac mortality.