Losing weight is easier than maintaining it after a diet. Scientists from the University of Copenhagen found out how long you need to stick to a certain eating plan not to gain the hateful kilos again.
If you have kept to a diet at least once, you know that losing weight is not as difficult as maintaining it. A new research has shown that if you keep the weight on the new level for at least 52 weeks, then it will be easier to maintain it in the long run.
The study conducted by the researchers from the University of Copenhagen involved 20 volunteers, all suffering from obesity. They followed a low-calorie diet for eight weeks. After this period, some of the volunteers took part in a 52-week program for weight maintenance, which included consultations with nutritionists and diet tracking.
In the meantime, researchers measured the levels of participants’ hormones that affect feelings of hunger, including ghrelin, which triggers hunger, glucagon-like peptide-1 and peptide YY, which regulate and suppress hunger. The researchers measured hormone levels before dieting, immediately after it, and 52 weeks later.
After weight loss, the level of hormones that regulate appetite, increased by 40%, and after 52 weeks – by 65%. On the other hand, the level of ghrelin causing hunger increased by 23% after weight loss. It turns out that diet makes us feel hungrier. But if the participants followed the diet for 52 weeks after weight loss, hormone levels came back to normal, as before the diet.
In other words, long-term dieting helps the body to adapt and overcome the surge of hunger, which is always caused by a low-calorie diet and rapid weight loss. During this time, you will pass through the critical recovery point and will not gain weight again.
This small study may become your extra motivation to stick to your diet plan for as long as possible. In this case you do not have to restrict yourself too much in food for a year, just pick the right diet.