The body’s ability to maintain or shed a body weight depends on several factors. First of all, genetics plays a part. Babies with low-birth-weight are more likely to grow into big children, which, in turn, makes them more likely to gain the weight. But children with a low birth weight are also more likely to inherit other genetic factors associated with weight loss in early life.
“You can increase weight loss by having health behaviors that lead to reduced food intake and increased physical activity,” says Levenson.
Another factor in weight loss? Dietary changes. A well-timed, healthy diet can help prevent weight gain in certain individuals. For example, those with type 2 diabetes should be sure to avoid refined starches, white flour, whole grains and sugars.
Additionally, people at a certain risk of being overweight and obese should also try to reduce their caloric intake, adds Levenson.
And, of course, dieting doesn’t always result in long-term weight loss. As we discussed earlier, some people lose weight quickly after they start dieting. But for many people, dieting never works the way they expected it to. So they have to be patient and keep eating healthy and exercising.
Is it possible to lose weight and keep it off?
It is possible to lose some weight when you’re not dieting, says Levenson. For example, a person with a high body-mass index can shed even more pounds if they exercise regularly. And although it’s hard to lose more weight when you’re overweight, it’s possible if you eat right and exercise regularly. Levenson says it takes at least two years of dieting to make any appreciable change.
And although dieters with a certain number of weight losses are successful, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll lose the extra weight.
“It’s very difficult to change your mind or your motivation,” says Levenson. “You have to do a lot of work to sustain a good body weight while you’re dieting.”
So it’s important to keep a healthy weight throughout your dieting cycles to avoid unnecessary fat gain – which can lead to health problems such as coronary heart disease and diabetes. But, to make it to your goal weight, you’ll need to stick to a calorie-controlled diet, with a portion size that allows you to maintain your body weight throughout the six months you plan to remain dieting.
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