Weight Loss

Getting on the Scales Helps Long-Term Weight Loss

Long-term weight loss, considered an elusive goal, can be achieved if people keep practicing essential health behaviors, researchers say.

And one of those behaviors is weighing yourself regularly.

Investigators from The Miriam Hospital, in Providence, R.I., studied weight-loss maintenance for people over a 10-year period. The participants had lost at least 30 pounds and had kept it off for at least one year when they were enrolled in the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR).

Lead author J. Graham Thomas, Ph.D, said that the study aimed to determine how well participants kept their weight off during the 10-year period, and what helped them to do so.

 “On average,” he said, “participants maintained the majority of their weight loss over this extended follow-up period, and better success was related to continued performance of physical activity, self-weighing, low-fat diets, and avoiding overeating.”

The findings were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Specifically, more than 87 percent of the participants were estimated to be still maintaining at least a 10 percent weight loss at years five and 10. The investigators also concluded that better long-term outcomes were likely if the participant los a larger amount of weight at the beginning and kept up their health habits for a longer time.

On the other hand, a lower level of physical activity, dietary restraint and self-weighing were linked to greater weight gain.

The researchers found that a larger initial weight loss and longer duration of maintenance were associated with better long-term outcomes. Conversely, they found that decreases in physical activity, dietary restraint and self-weighing along with increases in fat intake were associated with greater weight regain.

Thomas concludes, “What the results tell us is that long-term weight loss maintenance is possible, but it requires persistent adherence to a few key health behaviors.”


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