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Maximum weight gain usually occurs after 5-6 months of treatment
Tuesday, June 08, 2004 11:10 am Email this article
In weight loss studies, maximum weight loss usually occurs between 5 and 6 months.
A recent review of weight loss studies (Bray and Greenway, 1999) found that:
- after six weeks, patients had lost close to half (44 percent) of their maximum weight they would lose at the end of six months,
- after three months (12 weeks), patients had lost nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of their maximum weight loss, and
- after a little over four months (18 weeks), patients had lost nine-tenths (89 percent) of the weight the would have lost by six months.
I think this is important to realize for several reasons.
First, if something works, it works immediately. If you don’t see results within the first few weeks it is probably not going to work.
Second, after losing weight for six months, if you want to lose more, you are going to have to make additional changes.
Third, it is important to realize that people tend to achieve their maximum weight loss after six months and then start to regain weight, so when patients start to regain weight they should realize that this is not just a temporary setback, but that they are starting to regain weight and must be diligent about preventing weight gain.
Several years ago I saw a woman on television who said she had been walking six miles a day for six years and lost 15 pounds in the process. She said she was going to continue walking because she wanted to lose another 15 pounds.
Did she really think that after six years of doing the same thing she was going to lose any more weight? It’s not going to happen. The only way to lose more weight would be to make additional changes.
Bray G, Greenway F. Current and potential drugs for treatment of obesity. Endocr Rev. 1999 Dec, 20(6):805-75.
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