By Alice Clifford via SWNS
Don't worry if you fall off the diet wagon - initial failure is a necessary step to a successful diet, a new study from Canada reveals.
It is very common to put weight back on as soon as a diet is over, but researchers have found that this may not be a bad thing.
Instead, an unhealthy setback can act as a learning experience that can help achieve sustained weight loss in the future, and overall improve health.
"Our results suggest repeated bouts of weight loss and regain should not be viewed as failures, but as practice," said Dr. Jennifer Kuk, a professor in York University’s School of Kinesiology and Health Science in Toronto, and the study’s lead author.
The study examined 9,348 patients from the Wharton Medical Clinic, a weight-loss and diabetes clinic in Burlington, Ontario, Canada.
Each participant’s history of weight loss was collected through an enrollment questionnaire and their weight changes were assessed over the course of the research period.
The majority of patients reported becoming overweight prior to the age of 40 and having lost at least ten pounds at least once in their lifetime.
They found that the more often each person had lost weight in their life, the more weight they lost at the clinic, showing the discipline they had learned over time through sporadic dieting.
With women specifically, those who became overweight earlier in life and who dieted frequently in the past also lost much more weight at the clinic.
The study, published in the journal, Obesity, concludes that achieving long-term success requires multiple attempts. Every relapse and weight gain is a necessary component of weight management and is a key step on the journey to good health.
They also suggest that using different approaches to lose weight each time can benefit overall health in the future.
Dr. Sean Wharton, clinical adjunct professor at York University Faculty of Health in Toronto, Canada, director of the Wharton Medical Clinic, and co-author of the study, said: “One should continue to make attempts at weight management, and it is likely that an appropriate approach – especially with proven effective interventions such as medication or psychological intervention – will eventually be effective.
“For any lifestyle or behavioral change, individualizing the approach – that is, practicing and refining strategies that work for that individual over time – is a key concept, and long-term weight management should be no different.”
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