For Weight Loss the Hare Beats the Tortoise

The faster you lose weight may determine your ability to keep it off and how much you lose.  That’s the result of a new study published last week in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Researchers from the University of Florida looked at 262 women and put them on a 30 day diet and exercise program.  They then broke the women out into three categories.

  • Fast:  more than 1.5 pounds per week
  • Average: between .5 and 1.5 pounds per week
  • Slow: less than .5 pounds per week

Researchers then continued the diet and exercise program for a total of six months and followed up with the women intermittently for the following 18 months.

Results

  • Women in the “fast” weight loss category lost more weight overall
  • Women in the “fast” weight loss category were more successful at keeping the weight off

It’s important to note that the dieters weren’t expected to lose more than 2 pounds per week.  There are no “lose a dress size in a week” strategies going on here.  Basic concepts of eat less and exercise more were safely employed.

I’m sure DNA plays a role here.  Some people just naturally have an easier time losing weight than others.  (This is rather frustrating to the “others!”)  There are intricate interactions between nutrition, metabolism, exercise, even sleeping that doctors are just now beginning to understand.  There is also an entire area of research dedicated to DNA testing and metabolism (I’ll be posting about that later this week.)

What this study is also suggesting is start big!  Don’t tiptoe into a diet but start aggressively from the beginning and you could see more success overall. The participants strove to lose no more than 2 pounds per week and also included exercise along with dieting to achieve results.  They did not take celebrity endorsed diet pills or lock themselves into over heated saunas for hours.

This is new angle of research for me, I haven’t seen this type of study conducted elsewhere.  What are your thoughts to this new piece of information?  Does it make you want to start a diet with a bit more of a Spartan attitude?  Or are you perfectly fine with slow and steady win the race?

Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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3 Responses to For Weight Loss the Hare Beats the Tortoise

  1. kevin regel May 10, 2010 at 5:45 am #

    I am very much glad with the strategy you brought for weight loss programme.I said its brilliant idea!

  2. Lisa Johnson May 10, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    Thanks Kevin, it does appear to be a new area of research :-) L–

  3. TraceyJoy May 10, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    It makes sense when you read it. I have never looked at weight loss in these respects. Learn something new everyday. I’m the tip toe type, ease my way into a new routine whether it is food changes or workout regime. I always thought that if I made drastic changes too quickly that I’d send my body into a shock or something. That would cause me not to have the desired results. I agree with you that DNA has role in all of this. Very informative and I’m glad some research is being conducted in this area.

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