Why 15? That’s the percentage of your current weight you should aim to lose if you want to maintain a leaner figure long term, according to a new study. If you’ve ever tried losing weight before, you already know that half the battle is escaping the weight loss game of tug-o-war. You know, the one where you lose weight, gain it all back and then repeat the cycle countless times. (Curse you, mid-day soda cravings!) Also known as weight cycling, or yo-yo dieting, up to 75 percent of people trying to trim down will repeatedly lose and regain weight during and after their dieting period. Not only are major weight fluctuations tough on your wallet (buying new pants all the time isn’t cheap!), it can also be hard on your health, from increasing the risk of muscle loss to causing marital problems, according to a study presented at an American Psychological Association's conference.
Thankfully, science has given us insight into how we can break free and stay lean for life. An observational study conducted by researchers from the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk Inc. found that when obese patients lost 15 percent or more of their body weight within the first 6 months of their weight loss journey, they were most likely to continue losing weight over time than study participants who only lost a modest (five to 10 percent) or moderate (10 to 15 percent) amount of weight.
And while initial weight loss is definitely something to be proud of, we all know that boring workouts and low-calorie diets can only last so long; eventually, our devotion is bound to waver. Which is why over the next two years, researchers found that 40 percent of the modest losers and 36 percent of moderate losers regained over half of their lost weight. Yikes! On the other hand, those who lost over 15 percent of their initial body weight were least likely to regain the weight, with fewer than 19 percent putting on the extra pounds. Although the study didn’t mention why this happened, previous findings suggest that dieters who lose the most weight are often those who employ sensible weight loss solutions. Moderate and modest losers, however, are more apt to be “crash dieters” who don't make exercise a priority. (See, sometimes slow-and-steady really does win the race!)
To ensure you’ll be a weight-loss winner, make sure you’re a big loser during your initial weight loss period. Keep your eye on the prize (a healthier, happier you!), stick to your diet, find a workout regimen you genuinely enjoy, and follow these 50 Best-Ever Weight Loss Tips to stay on the path toward longterm success!