The Weight Wait

Newsweek - - NEWS - BY MELISSA MATTHEWS @M_­matthews

GOOD NEWS FOR THOSE WHO suf­fer from lack of willpower when it comes to weight loss: A new study in­di­cates that break­ing up with your diet for two weeks could help shrink your waist­line. No mat­ter the diet reg­i­men a per­son chooses, weight loss in­evitably slows at some point. Re­searchers from the Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia in Aus­tralia sus­pected that al­ter­nat­ing two weeks of dieting with two weeks of nor­mal eat­ing could help peo­ple push past this plateau.

To test their the­ory, they en­rolled 51 obese men for a study com­par­ing a steady diet with one that had breaks. One group re­duced calo­rie con­sump­tion by about one-third of their in­di­vid­ual needs for 16 weeks straight. The ex­per­i­men­tal group fol­lowed the same calo­rie re­stric­tions for two weeks and then ditched the diet for the next two, re­peat­ing the cy­cle for 16 weeks.

By the end of study, pub­lished in the In­ter­na­tional Jour­nal of Obe­sity, the in­ter­mit­tent di­eters had lost 47 per­cent more weight than the con­stant di­eters. And the men who took breaks main­tained, on av­er­age, an 18-pound loss six months af­ter the study—an im­pres­sive out­come con­sid­er­ing many peo­ple fail to hold their goal weights af­ter dieting.

The ex­per­i­men­tal ap­proach avoided the dreaded diet plateau, the halt in re­duc­tion that of­ten hap­pens af­ter a few weeks. Why? Our rest­ing meta­bolic rate slows when we cut calo­ries, leav­ing our bod­ies less ef­fi­cient at shed­ding weight, a phe­nom­e­non that is cru­cial for sur­vival but frus­trat­ing for stal­wart di­eters. The in­ter­mit­tent ap­proach avoided that slow­down. “Some­how, they’re kind of keep­ing the body on its toes,” says Krista Varady, an out­side re­searcher who stud­ies nu­tri­tion and weight loss at the Univer­sity of Illi­nois.

Varady em­pha­sizes that the breaks weren’t cheat days—par­tic­i­pants in that group main­tained their weight dur­ing the off pe­riod but weren’t nec­es­sar­ily splurg­ing. Still, she thinks it’s prob­a­bly safe to in­dulge a bit dur­ing a month of dieting, “just as long as it doesn’t psy­cho­log­i­cally de­rail peo­ple.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.