Obese people often struggle for years to lose weight. The problem: Even if a diet has been successful, it isn’t easy to maintain the weight you have achieved. The notorious yo-yo effect usually hits mercilessly.
Dieting is a booming business, playing on the desperation and hope of the overweight. The problem with diets: Mostly, they rely on a radical calorie reduction. Not surprisingly, this leads to a quickly visible success in almost everyone. However, it is neither healthy nor feasible to eat a severely calorie-reduced diet and one-sided for a lifetime. And so, sooner or later, you fall back into your old eating habits. The starving body wants to store energy in fat and release more appetite-stimulating hormones. This leads to the so-called yo-yo effect, i.e., the return of the fat deposits.
Four Strategies Are Compared To Keep The Weight Off
You wanted to know which four methods work best for weight maintenance after a diet. To do this, they selected 215 subjects for the study, all of whom were obese and had low fitness levels. Participants were placed on a calorie-restricted diet for eight weeks. They lost an average of 13 kilograms in weight. At the same time, their health values improved after the diet: both the blood sugar level and blood pressure were lower.
After The Diet, The Subjects Were Divided Into Four Groups
- Group 1: Subjects receive placebo drug but no exercise program
- Group 2: Subjects receive placebo drug and an exercise program (at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise and 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week)
- Group 3: Subjects receive appetite suppressants but no exercise program
- Group 4: Subjects receive appetite suppressants and an exercise program (at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise and 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week)
The appetite suppressant was liraglutide, which lowers blood sugar and reduces hunger pangs. It is a drug modeled after the appetite-suppressing hormone GLP-1. The drug is mainly used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus and reduce weight if severely overweight.
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Exercise With An Appetite Suppressant Works Best
After a year, the scientists evaluated all the data collected. They found that both Group 2 (more exercise) and Group 3 (appetite suppressants) maintained their weight after the diet. Health values also remained stable. On the other hand, group 1 (placebo, no additional exercise) performed the worst. These subjects regained around half of their weight and had deteriorated health.
Group 4 (more exercise and appetite suppressants) performed best. The participants were not only able to maintain their weight but also to reduce it even further. Immediately after the diet, it was 13 kilograms less, after a year even 16 kilograms less. In addition, the health values improved. Compared to groups 2 and 3, fat loss was twice as high, and muscle mass was retained.
“It’s great news that significant weight loss can be sustained by about 150 minutes of exercise per week, if it’s done primarily at high intensity, such as cycling,” says Professor Signe Torekov, who led the study. By combining exercise with an appetite suppressant, the effect is even twice as strong compared to individual treatment with training or medication, adds the scientist.
Losing Weight – A Fight Against “Strong Biological Forces”
Professor Signe Torekov explains that people fight strong biological forces when losing weight. Because while hunger increases during a diet, energy consumption decreases at the same time. This makes it challenging to maintain weight loss. “We have an appetite-stimulating hormone that increases dramatically when you lose weight, and at the same time, the level of appetite-inhibiting hormones decreases dramatically,” explains the study leader. In addition, weight loss can also lead to a loss of muscle mass, which reduces energy expenditure. That is why it is essential to pay attention to losing weight and how to maintain weight after the diet.
There is some good news for people trying to maintain their weight after dieting. The first important factor is movement. Anyone who does at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week has a good chance of maintaining weight. However, the researchers point out that it is essential to have a training plan and stick to it. You should also seek professional support in order not to lose your motivation. Nutritional advice is also necessary to eat healthier. You can also maintain your weight by taking something called an appetite suppressant. This hormone reduces hunger pangs and lowers blood sugar levels. However, one should take this under medical supervision.