Keeping the weight off

Story Highlights

  • Many factors predict whether or not a person will maintain weight loss
  • People who have succeeded report engaging in high levels of physical activity
  • Triggers for failure fall under lack of discipline and consistency

It’s often said that it’s hard to lose weight and keep it off. However, research suggests that around 20% of people are successful at long‐term weight loss if it is defined as losing at least 10% of your initial body weight and maintaining the loss for at least one year.

So what factors, if any, predict whether or not a person will maintain weight loss?

The keys to success

People who have been successful report:

  • Engaging in high levels of physical activity (more than one hour per day)
  • Eating a low‐calorie, low‐fat diet
  • Eating breakfast regularly
  • Self‐monitoring weight
  • Maintaining a consistent eating pattern across weekdays and weekends.

People with lower levels of depression are more likely to maintain weight loss


Triggers for failure

The single best predictor of weight regain is how long you have successfully maintained your weight loss. People who have kept the weight off for two or more years are much more likely to continue to maintain their weight over the following year. This is great news: it means that if you can succeed in maintaining your weight loss for two years, you reduce your risk of subsequent regain by nearly 50%!

It comes as no surprise that people who regain weight report significant decreases in their level of physical activity, increases in their percentage of calories from dietary fat, and decreases in their dietary restraint.

So, take heart—you can lose weight and keep it off. A bit of discipline and consistency can go a long way!