Losing weight seems to be a short-term phenomenon for most dieters, a fact underscored by a recent article in American Psychologist. The authors reviewed 31 diet studies that contained at least a year of follow-up data and found that, on average, 41 percent of participants gained back more weight than they had lost. The authors also suspect some dieters may have been too embarrassed to accurately report the exact weight gained. This review drives home some basic truths about weight gain and loss:
- First, both involve the complex interaction of numerous physical, social, and emotional factors, which make it difficult for people to change their eating habits and lifestyle.
- And second, at some point all dieters reach a plateau–they stop losing weight through dieting alone–and tend to get discouraged and backslide. Worse, the authors found that dieting actually served as a predictor of weight gain. The study concluded that most dieters would have been better off not dieting; they probably would have stayed at the same weight.
So what’s a girl to do? Lead author, Traci Mann, PhD, suggests that eating in moderation is a must and that getting regular exercise may be the key to sustained weight loss.
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