Lose weight fast to get lasting results: study

Fri May 7, 2010 10:54am EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Want to lose weight and keep it off? The best way to do it is to drop the pounds quickly, not slowly, according to new research.

Scientists at the University of Florida, who studied the link between the rate of initial weight loss and overall success long-term, said shedding weight quickly is the best way to achieve lasting results.

"Women who lost at a faster rate, greater than 1.5 pounds a week, had lost more and maintained a greater loss in the long run than women who lost at a slower rate of half a pound a week or less," said researcher Lisa Nackers, whose findings are published online by the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

The women who lost weight faster also kept better food records and ate fewer calories than the other women.

"It shows if you get off to a quick start ... it pays off more in the long run than making smaller behavioral changes," Nackers added in an interview.

About two-thirds of U.S. adults and nearly one in three children are overweight or obese. Research results have been mixed on whether dropping pounds at a slow or quicker pace is best for overall weight loss in the long term.

Nackers said the jury is still out on which is the best method but her findings support the quick approach.

"What we concluded in this study is that the results show that perhaps losing at a faster rate is more reinforcing in terms of the learning period of behavior," she added.   Continued...