If you've ever dieted before, you know how hard it is to keep the weight off for good. New research suggests that if you maintain your weight loss for at least 52 weeks, it will be easier to maintain that weight in the long run. Photo by Nogwater.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen put 20 obese people on an eight-week low-kilojoule diet. After that period, they put the participants on a 52-week weight maintenance track, which included meetings with a dietician and diet tracking. The researchers measured the participants' levels of hormones associated with hunger, including ghrelin, which increases hunger, and GLP-1 and peptide YY, which suppress or regulate hunger. They took these measurements before the diet, shortly after and at 52 weeks.
After weight loss, the participants' appetite-regulating hormone levels increased by 40 per cent and rose even more to 65 per cent at week 52. The hunger-inducing ghrelin levels, on the other hand, increased 23 per cent after the weight loss. (Dieting can make you feel hungrier!) But after sticking to the maintenance plan for the rest of the year, those hunger-related hormone levels fell back to their before-weight-loss levels.
In other words, the diet and long-term focus helped the participants adapt and overcome the surge in hunger that dieting usually causes. They got over the "critical point" for rebounding after weight loss.
It's a small study, but if you're looking to lose weight, this might be more inspiration for you to stick to your diet plan longer. You don't necessarily need to deprive yourself, either. Just eat more vegetables.
Successful weight loss maintenance includes long-term increased meal responses of GLP-1 and PYY 3-36 [International Journal of Obesity via The Independent]