We are not in shortage of fad diets, weight loss programs, fitness centers and supplements to facilitate weight loss in individuals. Obesity has become a worldwide epidemic paving way for numerous chronic disease such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. A disease that was restricted to the upper-class people and developed countries decades back it has become even more prevalent in developing countries, especially in urban settings. Obesity and overweight develop over time when the total calories consumed exceed the calories burned. Such energy imbalance causes the body to store fat. BMI ranges help categorizing people into various categories-those with a BMI ≥25 is termed overweight and those with BMI values ≥30 are obese.
A well-balanced diet, regular physical activity and an active lifestyle are certainly important for staying on a normal weight range. Overweight/obese people trying to lose weight can approach registered dietitian nutritionists for a healthy weight loss chart. A modest weight loss treatment helps individuals lose around 0.5-1.0 kilogram every week. Even a 5-10% decrease in body weight is beneficial for the individual in terms of his/her health quality and well-being. Research shows that most of the weight loss programs help individuals lose at least 10% of initial body weight over 30 weeks. The process is not tedious but needs patience and perseverance. Once the candidate loses weight, he/she is extremely happy but if the person goes back to his/her same old routine involving junk foods and sedentary lifestyles weight regain is inevitable. Helping individuals lose weight and keep it off is an even greater problem. Of all the individuals who lose weight only some are able to lose weight and also maintain the weight loss over a long term. Long-term weight loss maintenance (LTWLM) remains a key challenge and even though a vast portion of the population is trying to lose weight only 17-23% are able to maintain the weight loss.
Getting to know those individuals who are successful in LTWLM, monitoring their behavioral changes and lifestyle can help in developing better intervention methods to support others in maintaining weight loss. Higher levels of physical activity, self-monitoring weight and working out on achieving self-established goals are some of the behavioral strategies used by those who are successful in maintaining their lost weight.
The US National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) has been constantly updating individuals with the weight loss maintenance over the last couple of decades. The Portuguese Weight Control Registry (PWCR) is another voluntary registry that has enabled individuals to lose 5 kg weight and maintain the weight loss for at least 1 year.
Influence of Weekdays/Weekends on Weight Loss Maintenance
Weight loss is indeed a taxing process as we are asked to forego many of the processed foods that satisfy our cravings and taste buds. Gone are the pizzas, khakras, butter biscuits, mithais and chips. In comes the fruits and vegetables. There is a cheat meal that’s allowed once every week in most programs but this does not guarantee that the individual is mentally satisfied with the way he/she consumed food. As of now, we don’t have much evidence on how the diet’s strictness during weekdays and holidays influence long-term weight loss maintenance. But logically, it seems better when we do follow a flexible dietary pattern during weekends and public holidays as this helps us break the monotony, avoid boredom and allow a more realistic approach from a long-term perspective. At the same time, we are paving way for greater chances of loss of control over the diet and deviation away from the goal. We even have research evidence showing that participants who followed the diet on weekends and holidays too had 1.5 times more chances to maintain their weight loss compared to those who skip the diet routine during these special days. The study below aims to understand the consequences of dieting during weekends and holidays comparing to weekdays and the influence it would have on weight loss maintenance in a Portuguese sample of people who were successful in weight loss maintenance.
A total of 108 participants were included in the study from the PWCR with the criteria that all of them were between 18 and 65 years of age and had maintained their 5-kilogram weight loss for over a year irrespective of their initial body weight. At the PWCR, all the participants were given a questionnaire asking to fill their weight history, weight loss and weight maintenance behavioral strategies. Some of the questions asked were:
Long-term Weight Loss Maintenance in United States
The sample size for the study included 14,306 individuals who were selected based on different criteria. Only those whose BMI was not under 25, whose age was neither below 20 nor above 84 and those who had lost weight a year ago and managed to maintain all or some of it were included in the study. The male-female ration was almost equal in the study, 32% reported being in good health, 29.9% reported very good health and 19.5% reported excellent health. Surprisingly, weight loss was a goal only for 1/3rd of the participants despite the fact that almost 82% of them were overweight or obese. Results showed that:
Yet another study showed that weight gain was prominently seen after weekends mostly on Sundays and Mondays and gradually decreased as the week progressed. Changes in weight during weekends is quite logical as most individuals party out or eat junk which automatically increases their chances of weight gain. At the same time, stressing too much overweight changes, being too conscious of every morsel consumed even during weekends and starving yourself is not going to work out. Have a balance, eat just right, don’t overdo portion sizes, exercise daily and keep checking your weight often to keep your LTWLM goal in check. Allowing more flexibility and going easy during weekends and holidays is the best approach as it is realistic and also successful in the long term than sticking to a strict diet plan and losing focus halfway through.
Does diet strictness level during weekends and holiday periods influence 1-year follow-up weight loss maintenance? https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12937-019-0430-x
Weight Increases during Weekends & decreases during weekdays: https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/356147
Long-term weight loss maintenance in the United States: https://www.nature.com/articles/ijo201094?source=your_stories_page---------------------------
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