Losing weight is only half the battle — for many people, the bigger challenge is keeping the weight off over the long term. But is there a secret formula for success? To find out, Live Science interviewed experts and conducted a weekslong search for the best studies on the topic of keeping weight off. We combed through the evidence, and boiled it down to provide simple, science-based tips for how to maintain a slimmer, healthier self.
After a diet, it’s common for people to regain some or all of the weight they lost — sometimes this is called “yo-yo dieting.” A 1999 study estimated that just 20 percent of overweight or obese Americans are successful at losing at least 10 percent of their body weight, and keeping this weight off for at least a year. In fact, even people who are eventually successful at maintaining weight loss often go through several failed attempts first, other research shows. Researchers who followed more than 700 people who successfully lost at least 30 lbs. (13.6 kg) and kept it off for a year or more found that 91 percent reported they had previously made unsuccessful weight-loss attempts before they were finally able to keep the weight off.