Monday, January 28, 2008

How to Lose Weight and Keep It Off

If you want to lose weight and not gain it back, the most effective way is also the most difficult: Eat less and exercise more. According to a review of dozens of clinical trials, this approach really does work for the long haul, reports Reuters Health.

Conducted by Minneapolis-based Nutrition Concepts by Franz Inc., the study determined that cutting calories--with or without exercise--is the most effective way to lose weight and keep those pounds off for more than four years. Even so, the weight loss numbers aren't all that dramatic. After analyzing 80 weight-loss studies, the researchers found that the amount of weight lost at most was 11 to 19 pounds.Typically, some of that was gained back over time, but when people made lifestyle changes that resulted in eating less and exercising more, most of the weight loss was maintained over the long haul.

Study leader Marion J. Franz, a registered dietitian and health consultant, says that the dieters who used either calorie-cutting alone or in combination with increased exercise, typically hit a plateau after six months. After that, they gained a few pounds back, on average. Franz says the goal at that point should be to maintain the weight loss.

Dieters often become "frustrated," Franz and her colleagues write in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, because they think that if they maintain a lower-calorie diet, the pounds should continue to drop. "This appears not to happen even when weight-loss interventions are continued," Franz writes. "However if weight-loss interventions are discontinued entirely, weight regain is likely to occur."



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