The Secret of Stay Off Weight Loss

Continued program participation essential to weight loss maintenance

Lost a few or several pounds only to have them creep up again? A new study reveals the secret behind "stay off" weight loss.

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Keeping those hard-earned pounds off can be as difficult as losing them was to begin with. And weight loss experts realize this as can be seen from earlier research that revealed some weight loss maintainers’ secrets for keeping lost weight off forever and recommendations from the AARP on 5 secrets to maintaining weight loss.

More recently, however, a new study presented at the Society of General Internal Medicine 2016 Annual Meeting by researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus shows that participating in a long-term weight loss program can also result in significant weight loss that stays off, including other health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, lowered blood sugar, improved sleep, and fewer aches and pains.

The Study

According to a news release from University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, researchers followed over 65,000 overweight or obese people who joined Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) between 2005 to 2010.

The Results

What they found was that:

• In the first year, half of participants in the nonprofit weight-loss support group had significant weight loss.

• Of those patients who achieved significant weight loss in the first year, 80% kept off the weight if they continued to participate in the program.

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• During year’s three to seven of the program, roughly 90% of patients who continued participating in the program maintained their weight loss.

Recommendations for Stay Off Weight Loss

"Maintaining long-term weight loss is a critical challenge in treating obesity and related health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease," said the study's lead author Nia S. Mitchell, MD, MPH at CU Anschutz. "Just losing the weight isn't enough. Since the health benefits of weight loss disappear when weight creeps back on, we need more research into effective strategies for maintaining a healthier weight once it is reached."

Dieters who have lost weight can keep it off by following simple steps such as these top 4 typically recommended by those who have lost weight and kept it off:

1. Increase your level of physical exercise by beginning with a 10-minute-long daily walk that eventually will turn into 30 minutes of activity each day.

2. Switch from sugary drinks to healthier, less calorie-laden beverage choices.

3. Eat 500 calories less per day.

4. Make it a habit to weigh yourself and chart your weight every day.

Reference: University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus news release― “Program participation results in long-term weight loss.”

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