Everyone knows how difficult it is to lose weight if you have ever been on a diet. More important, once you do have weight loss success, keeping the weight off is another struggle. A recent study involving contestants from TV show “The Biggest Loser” demonstrates what really happens after weight loss.
‘Biggest Loser’ study shows how difficult it is to keep the weight off, years later. Photo by Reality Tea
In the study, all but one contestant had regained at least some of the weight lost after six years, during the 30-week TV competition, according to Obesity. The participants had regained about 90 pounds or 70 percent of the weight they lost. This just demonstrates how hard it is to fight obesity and maintain a healthy weight, even with a competition that has incentives.
There is no magic pill or formula for fat loss but here are a few answers to questions for people who are struggling with weight loss:
If you lose weight slowly, are you more likely to maintain weight loss?
Although many dieters get this advice, studies have shown otherwise including a recent Australian study. In this study, 204 obese people were instructed on live on 450 to 800 calories a day for 3 months, or limit themselves to 400 to 500 calories a day for 36 weeks. The overall goal was a 15 percent weight loss. After three years, almost everyone regained the weight they had lost, regardless of the counseling on diet and exercise. There was no change in the levels of the two hormones, ghrelin and leptin, which increases hunger. More individuals in the rapid weight loss group did lose at least 12 percent of their weight (80 percent, compared to 50 percent in the slow loss group) and fewer called it quits (3 percent, compared to 18 percent).
Will you maintain a higher metabolism if you build muscle through exercise, such as weight lifting?
Muscle does burn more calories than fat, so you may think that the more muscle you have, the faster you will burn calories. In fact, a study showed that building muscle has nearly no effect on resting metabolism, which is the amount of calories a person burns while at rest. According to the study, the muscle we build is small compared to the total amount of skeletal muscle on our body. This muscle is at rest most of the time and no one can go around and flex their muscles all day.
Should you avoid snacks to maintain weight loss?
Even though it seems that snacking packs on the extra pounds, studies that randomly assigned individuals to snack or not have not confirmed this, and even studies that observed people have not found that snacks undermine fat loss.
Is there a certain type of diet that keeps weight off?
Many individuals are convinced that low fat or low carb diets are the best for weight loss. However, Dr. Lee Kaplan, an obesity researcher at Harvard, says that there is no weight loss program or diet that is guaranteed to work but that individuals can often keep a loss of 5 percent of their weight, which comes with many health benefits. He tells his patients to try different weight loss programs until they find one that works for them.
Will doing vigorous cardiovascular exercises after weight loss speed up your body’s slowed metabolism?
As long as you are not consuming more calories than you burn you are okay. Although this sounds like a simple task, “this is not as easy a proposition as it sounds,” says Dr. Michael Rosenbaum, a doctor and obesity researcher at Columbia University. The brain controls your hunger and your food cravings, and it is very easy to accidentally consume more calories than you burned exercising. That is a major reason studies that use exercise alone to help individuals lose weight have usually failed to find an effect. Did you know that after you lose 10 percent of your weight by diet alone, your muscles begin using genes that make them more efficient? They actually burn 20 to 30 percent fewer calories for the exact exercise.
Is there hope for weight maintenance?
Do not let this Obesity study discourage you if you are currently overweight or obese. This research is just to show you that anyone can be treated if they seek help sooner and start now. Weight loss is a lifelong process that includes proper dieting, daily physical activity, counseling, medication or even surgery. The best option is to consult with your physician about a weight loss plan that fits you and start your journey for a healthier life today!
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Source: Fothergill, E., Guo, J., Howard, L., Kerns, J. C., Knuth, N. D., Brychta, R., Chen, K. Y., Skarulis, M. C., Walter, M., Walter, P. J. and Hall, K. D. (2016), “Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition. Obesity. doi: 10.1002/oby.21538 May 2 2016 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.21538/full
Kolata, G. “Short Questions to Hard Answers about Weight Loss” The New York Times May 4 2016 www.nytimes.com