The new excellent weight loss study from Kaiser shows that people who lose 9# over 6 months can maintain almost half the loss over 3 years if they login, engage, and post their weight on a (specific) weight loss website.
So, accountability is transferable, because 4 factors have been shown to be the key to weight loss maintenance: accountability, individualization of diet, adequate exercise (400+ minutes weekly) and consistent self-monitoring. The National Weight Control Registry has over 40 research studies from the top investigators devoted to successful weight loss maintenance.
At the end of this internet study, 65 percent of the participants were still logging on to the website–an average of about once per week–which is way better adherence than most weight loss studies, and as good as my own medical weight loss practice.
“Sustainable long-term weight-loss maintenance” is defined differently in different studies. To these researchers, it meant regaining just 56% of initial weight lost. That’s success, compared with regaining over 90% of initial weight lost in the no-intervention and personal followup groups.
But weight regain is not success for most dieters. Most researchers define success as over 10% of body weight loss, but people in weight loss programs are disappointed when we do not achieve it and maintain it. We should be able to do better–and we can do better– for truly motivated, prepared people with a personal or medical reason to keep weight off once they have lost it.