Can You Maintain Fast Weight Loss?
Losing weight is only half the battle. The real challenge is keeping it off for good. Most people who follow a diet regain half the weight they’ve lost after only a year. Even worse, nearly everyone who follows a diet regains all the weight they’ve lost after 3–5 years.
That’s why experts often suggest losing weight at a slow but steady pace. Most studies show that people who lose weight at a slow but steady pace are more likely to keep it off long-term.
Also, plans that encourage slow weight loss usually help you build healthy eating behaviors like eating more fruits and veggies and drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages. Behaviors like these can help you keep weight off long-term.
However, several studies have found that rapid weight loss may be just as effective as slow weight loss, even for the long term. In one study, 103 people followed a rapid weight loss diet for 12 weeks, while 97 people followed a slow but steady weight loss diet for 36 weeks.
Nearly 3 years later, roughly 70% of people in both groups had regained all the weight they had lost. This means that both diets were equally effective in the end.
Although these studies found that rapid weight loss was just as effective as slow but steady weight loss overall, it’s unlikely that a person at home would get similar results.
People in the rapid weight loss groups had support from doctors and dietitians during the weight loss and weight maintenance phases. Research shows that having support from a health professional can improve your chances of long-term weight loss success.
Also, doctors and dietitians try to minimize the health risks that come with eating very few calories. These risks include muscle loss, nutritional deficiencies, and gallstones. People who try these diets alone have a higher risk of these medical conditions.
In short, you are more likely to lose weight and keep it off by losing weight slowly. This approach will help you build healthy eating behaviors to keep the weight off, and is safer to do than fast weight loss, especially if you don’t have the support of a health professional.
Most research shows that gradual weight loss is easier to maintain over the long-term. It helps you develop healthy eating behaviors and has fewer health risks than fast weight loss.