Scientists find out if gaining weight after dieting is failure

September 28, 2022  15:42

People trying to lose weight too often gain pounds immediately after dieting (often characterized as a human failure, indicative of a lack of willpower and discipline), but a new study by researchers at York University School of Health Sciences shows that such regressions are learning experiences-perhaps even necessary steps toward sustained weight loss and improved overall health.

"Our results suggest that repeated bouts of weight loss and regain should not be seen as failures but as practices," explains Jennifer Cook, professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences at York University and lead author of the study.

Published in the journal Obesity, the article, "Association Between Weight Loss History and Weight Loss Achieved in Clinical Obesity Treatment," summarizes a study involving 9,348 patients from Wharton Medical Clinic, a weight loss and diabetes clinic in Burlington, Ontario. 

Each participant's weight loss history was collected using a questionnaire, and weight changes were assessed over the study period. Most patients reported that they became overweight before age 40 and that they had lost at least 10 pounds at least once in their lives.

The study found that long-term success usually requires several attempts using different approaches. And at each stage, relapse and weight gain again should be expected as a necessary component of weight management and the health optimization process.

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