If you’re like 44% of Americans, you’ve probably made a New Year’s resolution for 2015. Chances are, you want to lose weight, the most popular resolution of them all. You’re an eminently sensible person, so you’ve decided to lose weight gradually, because you’ve heard the experts say this is the best way to keep the weight off.
Well, it turns out you heard wrong.
According to a new study, it doesn’t matter if you lose weight quickly or slowly — chances are, you’ll gain most of the weight back either way. Happy New Year!
The study, conducted at the University of Melbourne, randomly assigned 200 obese adults to either a 12-week rapid weight loss program, in which they could consume only 450-800 calories a day, or a kinder, gentler, 36-week program, in which they cut their usual intake by about 500 calories a day.
Not surprisingly, more people in the former group reached their target weight loss goal of 12.5% of their bodyweight, compared to the latter group. After three years, weight gain was about 71% in both groups.
The researchers speculate that those on the very-low-calorie diet lost more weight initially because they went into ketosis — without carbs to burn, they started burning fat instead. Seeing the pounds fly off might also have motivated people to keep at it.
Still, you might not want to change your weight-loss resolution from gradual to rapid. For one thing, being on a “very-low-calorie diet” sounds AWFUL. Also, losing a bunch of weight only to gain most of it back has got to be demoralizing.
Still, if you have a lot of weight to lose and think you can get by on the dietary equivalent of rabbit food, maybe it’s worth giving rapid weight loss a try. And whether you resolve to do it quickly or slowly, there is hope: Research has confirmed that people who lose weight and keep it off actually exist. It seems they use strategies like weighing themselves at least once a week, eating breakfast every day, and — most earth-shattering of all — exercising regularly.
[Post image from Shutterstock]