New research has found that the chance of an obese person attaining normal body weight is 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women.
Talk about depressing odds.
The research tracked the weight of 278,982 participants (129,194 men and 149,788 women) using electronic health records from 2004 to 2014.
The annual chance of obese patients achieving five per cent weight loss was 1 in 12 for men and 1 in 10 for women. For those people who achieved five per cent weight loss, 53 per cent regained this weight within two years and 78 percent had regained the weight within five years. Weight cycling, with both increases and decreases in body weight, was also observed in more than a third of patients. The study concludes that current obesity treatments are failing to achieve sustained weight loss for the majority of obese patients.
The study suggested that more efforts need to be made on preventing obesity in the first place. Obviously that's the best/easiest approach, but what about the people who are already overweight? Do we just 'give up' on them? When I think back to when I was obese I try to remember what it was that made me decide to get healthy, and why I was able to keep the weight off when so many others struggle.
I wish I had a simple answer. It took me 2 years to lose 50 pounds, and I did it through cutting out junk food/fast food/liquid calories, and exercising a few times a week. Nothing special. No secrets. The only difference was that I was able to stay motivated. Hopefully more research can be done on weight loss motivation to find out what exactly triggers some people to stay so committed to getting healthy, while others give up or relapse.
Runners World has a great article on how the math behind the old "1 pound lost = 3,500 calories burned' equation is wrong. Long story short: your body becomes adapted to losing weight with every pound you lose. So, over the course of 12 months it will end up taking people 7,000 calories to burn a pound. Stupid math.
It does help explain the weight loss plateau that so many people end up hitting (even though it may not be the answer we want to hear!)
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Why do you think it's so hard for most people to keep weight off? Did you ever hit a weight loss plateau?