Formula Medical Group
Apple Valley, CA

James Krider, MD

   any search words
   all search words


December 15, 2005
Limit Calories
Mod-Protein, Low-Moderate Fat
High Fiber
Positive Mental Outlook

The Holy Grail of weight-loss -- maintenance

Here is the results of my review of the literature on how people maintain weight loss. This is a review of 111 articles including 23 reviews. About 20% of people that lost weight succeeded in keeping it off for 2-5 years and longer. It didn't make any difference how they lost the weight: Weight Watchers, Zone diet, Ornish, Liquid diet, low-carb diet, high-carb diet, or any other type of diet. Once the weight is off, you must make certain changes to your lifestyle or the weight returns.

Successful weight loss is not reaching your weight goal. The definition of success is losing 10% or more of your starting weight. Successful maintenance is remaining at that level within 5 pounds for 1 year.

The following findings are pretty much universal of all the studies.

LIMIT CALORIES - I suppose this goes without saying. Successful long-term weight loss demands that you keep your calories down. If you return to your old eating habits, your old weight also returns. On average, ladies consumed 1,300 calories and men 1,700 calories. Your calorie level may be different and can be determined by performing a metabolic study.

Do not rely on a strict menu. The most successful weight-loss maintainers learned to make healthy choices and "know" what they should eat or avoid.

HIGH-PROTEIN, LOW-MODERATE FAT (25-30% protein, 25-35% fat)- Sorry, I am not speaking Atkins' here. Atkins recommends as much as 50% of your calories as protein. The Zone diet has 40%. The American Heart Associations strictest diet, TLC, recommends 15% protein. Research seems to suggest that higher protein and fat is more satisfying and people will stick with the lifestyle. The fat must be less than 7% saturated fat, 10% or less polyunsaturated, and the rest monounsaturated.

HIGH FIBER - Up to 30 grams of fiber every day. However, the recommendations of many medical associations is 38 grams up to 50 grams of fiber every day.

BREAKFAST - 78% of successful weight loss maintainers eat breakfast, however 4% never eat breakfast. This is a good time to obtain fiber.

CONSISTENCY - Successful weight loss maintainers don't binge on the weekend and starve during the week. Persons with a consistent diet are 1.5 times more likely to maintain their weight loss.

EXERCISE - Exercising over 150 minutes/week doubles your weight loss compared to less than 150 minutes/week. Over 200 minutes/week triples your weight loss. More importantly, studies indicate that to maintain weight loss you must exercise at least 3.3 to 5 hours a week. To maintain a significant weight loss requires as much as 60-90 minutes every day.

POSITIVE MENTAL OUTLOOK - One of most significant predictors of failure was mental outlook. If your depressed, use food for comfort, binge eat, have a poor body image, and get frustrated easily over "lack of progress" then there is a good chance you will regain lost weight.

My blog

Lifestyle part 2
Lifes Plan

The first choice
More Easy choices

Holy Grail of weight loss - maintenance

      This article was last reviewed by Dr. James Krider on December 27, 2005.