This offers encouragement for yo-yo dieters who often fear they’ve hurt their metabolism and won’t be successful.
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle recruited 438 overweight or obese post-menopausal women.
They were divided them into two groups: non-yo-yo dieters, and yo-yo dieters with a history of losing and regaining 10 or more pounds three or more times.
The women were placed in one of four plans, shown below. Their average weight loss after 12 months is listed at right.
|The plans and the weight loss|
|Reduced-calorie diet||15-17 lbs.|
|225 minutes a week of aerobic activity||5 lbs.|
|Both reduced-calorie diet and 225 minutes a week of aerobic activity||19-21 lbs.|
|No formal diet or exercise program||No change|
Most of the weight was lost in the first six months; yo-yo dieters lost about the same amount as non-yo-yo dieters.
The take-home message is don’t give up trying, says Fred Hutchinson Center researcher Caitlin Mason, who presented the study at the annual meeting of the Obesity Society in San Diego. “For long-term success, aim for a slow-and-steady weight loss of about 1 to 2 pounds a week,” she says.
Anne McTiernan, the study’s senior author and director of the Prevention Center at the Hutchinson Center, says researchers aren’t sure whether these results would also apply to men. She says this study confirms her previous research showing that people who do both the diet and exercise lose the most weight.