It might be time to channel your inner weight-loss pessimist. A recent study from Australia found it doesn’t matter how fast you lose weight on a diet, you’re probably going to gain most of it back anyway.
This counters the previous belief that a slow weight loss program is more effective than “crash dieting” in keeping the fat off. For the study, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 204 participants either completed a 12-week fast weight loss program, or a more gradual 36-week diet. The participants who lost more than 12.5% of their starting body weight in each group then went on a 144-week weight maintenance program.
The causal jelly donut, the post-work beers, and just the general temptations of a post-diet life hit both groups just as hard; 72% of gradual dieters and 70% of crash dieters gained all the weight back.
But more telling might be the fact that 81% of crash dieters were able to lose the 12.5% body weight during the original trial, while only 50% of the gradual dieters could achieve the mark.
As reported in Forbes:
“’Across the world, guidelines recommend gradual weight loss for the treatment of obesity, reflecting the widely held belief that fast weight loss is more quickly regained,’ said the first author of the paper, Katrina Purcell, of the University of Melbourne, in a press release. ‘However, our results show that achieving a weight loss target of 12.5% is more likely, and drop-out is lower, if losing weight is done quickly.’”
But don’t go running for the juice cleanses and water diets just yet. According to the Mayo Clinic, fast weight loss can have serious health detriments. It also could cause you to lose water weight and lean mass over fat. “A weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is the typical recommendation,” Donald Hensrud, M.D. reports on the Mayo Clinic’s website.
In any case, the recent research proves that the hardest part of losing weight is actually just keeping it off. Be sure to follow these tips to prevent pudge from making a comeback.