Consistency Is the Key, Researchers Say


REUTERS/Lucas JacksonPedestrians walk across the street near Times Square in New York August 28 2007.

New reports about weight loss stress the importance of consistency. According to a new research, people who want to lose weight should opt for the “slow but steady” approach instead of the opposite if they want to achieve the best results.

Published in the journal titled “Obesity,” a study found that most of the people who experienced a rise and fall in the amount of weight they lost in the first few weeks of their diet programs were unable to maintain it, while those who dropped a consistent number of pounds every week turned out to be the more successful ones.

According to Dr. Michael Lowe, the principal investigator of the study, consistency might just be determined dieters’ key to success. “We previously found that degree of week-to-week variation in body weights among those in the healthy weight range predicted greater future weight gain. In other words, those whose weights tended to vary the most over time were most likely to gain weight 1 to 2 years later,” he said.

Lowe said the purpose of their research was to see if the same trend would apply to obese individuals who wanted to lose weight, and they found that it actually did. The study involved 183 overweight or obese individuals. They were then enrolled in a weight loss program that included some behavioral treatment. Aside from counseling, they also underwent meal replacements each day for a certain period of time to monitor their intakes.

The study found that long-term weight maintenance actually required consistency. The conclusion was derived from the fact that those dieters who had more variability in their weight loss over the first weeks of the study were the same ones who had poor weight control after one to two years.

The study also found that no single meal plan actually worked for everyone, so weight loss programs should use the individualized approach. “If people are struggling in the very beginning, you need to modify the plan, otherwise it won’t stick long term,” said Dr. Zhaoping Li of the University of California, Los Angeles, who was one of the professors who conducted the research.

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Consistency Is the Key, Researchers Say

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