When you're on a diet, who doesn't love to step on the scale after that first week and see a big drop? It's quite the high. But, haven't we been told over and over again, that slow and steady is the way to go if you want the pounds to stay off. Well... speedy may not be so evil after all.
Researchers at the University of Florida say the key to long-term weight loss and maintenance may be dropping pounds quickly, at least at the start. They looked at data from 262 middle-aged obese women who were taking part in a special weight-loss program that encouraged them to cut calories and add physical activity over six months. The goal was to lose about .45 kg per week (1 pound). When the six months were up, they entered an extended care program for a year which included group sessions, phone support and/or newsletters.
Researchers split the women into three groups based on how much weight they lost during the first month. The FAST group lost more than .68kg per week (1.5 pounds). The MODERATE group lost from .23-.68kg per week (.5-1.5 pounds). The SLOW group lost less than .23 kg per week (less than .5 pounds).
Next, they looked at where the women stood at six and 18 months. Had they lost more, maintained or regained weight? The results: Click here.
Research source: Nackers LM et al (2010). The association between rate of initial weight loss and long-term success in obesity treatment: does slow and steady win the race? International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, DOI 10.1007/s12529-010-9092-y