If you are just beginning the weight loss journey, you may be focused on the weight loss itself and not thinking about the weight maintenance involved. There have been a few studies published recently that show encouraging results of weight maintenance. A study recently published in the Obesity Journal by Dr. Tom Wadden showed clinically meaningful weight loss was achieved and maintained after 8 years by using intensive lifestyle management. The Intensive Lifestyle Management included group and individual sessions. In addition, these subjects used structured meal plans and meal replacements. For long-term weight maintenance, subjects had 1-2 monthly contacts with the health professionals for up to 8 years. It should also be noted that this study showed that intensive behavior intervention was effective in both men and women, and in ethnic and racially diverse groups.
Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Johansson et el, 2014), was a review of trials evaluating weight-loss strategies after a VLCD (very low calorie diet) or LCD (low calorie diet). The results showed improved weight-loss maintenance with anti-obesity medications, meal replacements and high-protein diets.
The important thing to remember about weight maintenance is that there are “tools” to help with weight maintenance. You may want to consider: 1) a structured meal plan with or without meal replacements such as Optifast, 2) apps on your phone or computer to track exercise and eating behaviors, 3) monthly follow-up visits with your registered dietitian either individually or in a maintenance group, and 4) physical activity 45-60 minutes per day on most days of the week. For some patients, anti-obesity medications may be a helpful adjunct! Stay positive and make your plan! We are here to help!