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Does dieting lead to greater weight gain in the long term

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  • sijomialsijomial Member Posts: 17,114 Member Member Posts: 17,114 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    I'll agree with the statement that "diets don't work"...assuming that the "diets" that are being referred to are temporary, restrictive, regimented ways of eating that are not sustainable in the long term.

    I think that many people who try these kinds of "diets" do lose weight, but are so miserable that they eventually revert to their old way of eating. When they see the scale start to go back up, they just say, well *kitten* it, I guess I can't lose weight...and they give up. At least that's been what I've seen from friends and family.

    I lost weight and have maintained it by making permanent changes to the way I eat and exercise. It's not always easy, but it's sustainable for the rest of my life.

    Purely to illustrate why general statements as in the OP are of no real use to an individual my experience was just about the diametric opposite to what your experience and yet we have both been successful.

    I'll agree with the statement that "diets don't work"...assuming that the "diets" that are being referred to are temporary, restrictive, regimented ways of eating that are not sustainable in the long term.
    I went on a temporary restrictive diet (at a sensible rate of loss). It was intended to be sustainable for a limited time period only.

    I think that many people who try these kinds of "diets" do lose weight, but are so miserable that they eventually revert to their old way of eating. When they see the scale start to go back up, they just say, well *kitten* it, I guess I can't lose weight...and they give up. At least that's been what I've seen from friends and family.
    I picked my method of weight loss to be as least miserable as possible.
    When I see the scale go up I take action to head off the trend continuing to rise.
    I know I can lose weight.
    Yes I've also seen many people lose weight and regain it again, maybe they simply don't care enough to remain vigilant?


    I lost weight and have maintained it by making permanent changes to the way I eat and exercise. It's not always easy, but it's sustainable for the rest of my life.
    I lost weight and have maintained that weight loss for over 7 years and didn't need to make any permanent changes to my diet, it just had to be made smaller for a while. I eat the same foods now as I ate before I lost weight. The overall size of my diet is larger than before though as my CO is higher than it used to be. See no reason why what I do can't be sustainable for life as my diet has coped with many changes in the last few years - positive and negative.

    Yet I'd still see what you do as finding what you believe will be a lifelong sustainable strategy, involving how you use your maintenance range and dietary adjustments. In practice, you've not treated "a diet" as a one time project that ends, followed by a return to exactly what you did previously (while you were gaining or had gained weight). the thing people think of as "going back to normal" after "a diet".
    <SNIP>
    @AnnPT77
    Yes I did actually return to exactly what I was doing before, eating same foods in probably just about the same amounts, exercising for enjoyment, sport and fitness - because I was maintaining long term before I decided to lose the excess weight that I gained suddenly after major injury.

    20+ years maintaining fat but in a fairly narrow weight range with a hard upper boundary that I wouldn't allow myself to cross is just the same as 7+ years at a healthy weight in a fairly narrow weight range with an upper boundary that I won't cross. Yes my diet (verb) to go from fat to healthy really was a one time project with a return to what is normal for me.

    Other people's pre-diet normal, such as a slow weight increase over time, wasn't my normal so I didn't have that issue to fix. Other people's fat their whole adult life normal wasn't my normal, watching and controlling my weight is my normal.

    I already had a lifelong sustainable strategy but just decided to implement the same strategy at a lighter and better weight after a period of dieting. Just wish I had got my head in gear 20 years earlier!

    I may well be unusual but that's my objection to generalisations such as the thread title.
  • NovusDiesNovusDies Member, Premium Posts: 8,517 Member Member, Premium Posts: 8,517 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    I'll agree with the statement that "diets don't work"...assuming that the "diets" that are being referred to are temporary, restrictive, regimented ways of eating that are not sustainable in the long term.

    I think that many people who try these kinds of "diets" do lose weight, but are so miserable that they eventually revert to their old way of eating. When they see the scale start to go back up, they just say, well *kitten* it, I guess I can't lose weight...and they give up. At least that's been what I've seen from friends and family.

    I lost weight and have maintained it by making permanent changes to the way I eat and exercise. It's not always easy, but it's sustainable for the rest of my life.

    Purely to illustrate why general statements as in the OP are of no real use to an individual my experience was just about the diametric opposite to what your experience and yet we have both been successful.

    I'll agree with the statement that "diets don't work"...assuming that the "diets" that are being referred to are temporary, restrictive, regimented ways of eating that are not sustainable in the long term.
    I went on a temporary restrictive diet (at a sensible rate of loss). It was intended to be sustainable for a limited time period only.

    I think that many people who try these kinds of "diets" do lose weight, but are so miserable that they eventually revert to their old way of eating. When they see the scale start to go back up, they just say, well *kitten* it, I guess I can't lose weight...and they give up. At least that's been what I've seen from friends and family.
    I picked my method of weight loss to be as least miserable as possible.
    When I see the scale go up I take action to head off the trend continuing to rise.
    I know I can lose weight.
    Yes I've also seen many people lose weight and regain it again, maybe they simply don't care enough to remain vigilant?


    I lost weight and have maintained it by making permanent changes to the way I eat and exercise. It's not always easy, but it's sustainable for the rest of my life.
    I lost weight and have maintained that weight loss for over 7 years and didn't need to make any permanent changes to my diet, it just had to be made smaller for a while. I eat the same foods now as I ate before I lost weight. The overall size of my diet is larger than before though as my CO is higher than it used to be. See no reason why what I do can't be sustainable for life as my diet has coped with many changes in the last few years - positive and negative.

    Yet I'd still see what you do as finding what you believe will be a lifelong sustainable strategy, involving how you use your maintenance range and dietary adjustments. In practice, you've not treated "a diet" as a one time project that ends, followed by a return to exactly what you did previously (while you were gaining or had gained weight). the thing people think of as "going back to normal" after "a diet".
    <SNIP>
    @AnnPT77
    Yes I did actually return to exactly what I was doing before, eating same foods in probably just about the same amounts, exercising for enjoyment, sport and fitness - because I was maintaining long term before I decided to lose the excess weight that I gained suddenly after major injury.

    20+ years maintaining fat but in a fairly narrow weight range with a hard upper boundary that I wouldn't allow myself to cross is just the same as 7+ years at a healthy weight in a fairly narrow weight range with an upper boundary that I won't cross. Yes my diet (verb) to go from fat to healthy really was a one time project with a return to what is normal for me.

    Other people's pre-diet normal, such as a slow weight increase over time, wasn't my normal so I didn't have that issue to fix. Other people's fat their whole adult life normal wasn't my normal, watching and controlling my weight is my normal.

    I already had a lifelong sustainable strategy but just decided to implement the same strategy at a lighter and better weight after a period of dieting. Just wish I had got my head in gear 20 years earlier!

    I may well be unusual but that's my objection to generalisations such as the thread title.


    That is a key differentiating factor. You already had a long term weight management mindset. Even if you had unsustainable plan for weight loss if failing at it resulted in continued vigilance you could just try something better. The discussion is really about people who have a diet mindset without a plan or a sustainable plan for maintenance. To Ann's point if she cuts some things from her diet on a temporary basis to do a minor adjustment it doesn't matter because she has already (hopefully) learned how to make maintenance normal.
  • chocolate_owlchocolate_owl Member Posts: 1,501 Member Member Posts: 1,501 Member
    sofrances wrote: »
    To me there's a difference between "many people put the weight back on" and "diets cause people to end up at a higher weight than they would have been at if they had never dieted".

    Putting the weight back on means you are no worse off than before, except you probably spent a number if months at a healthier weight. Seems worth the risk. If diets themselves cause long term weight gain for many, that's a riskier proposition.

    Of course, makes no practical difference to me at this point, since I'm below my goal weight and trying to maintain, so I'm not facing a choice of "to diet or not to diet". But its a worrying thought nonetheless.

    This is data pulled out of the Biggest Loser study:

    Initial Weight: 148.9 kg +/- 40.5 kg
    Weight after 30 weeks (competition duration): 90.6 kg +/- 24.5kg
    Weight after 6 years (post-comptetion): 131.6 +/- 45.3 kg

    RMR in kcal/day:

    Initial predicted RMR: 2577 +/- 574
    Predicted RMR after 30 weeks: 2272 +/- 435
    Predicted RMR after 6 years: 2403 +/- 507

    Initial measured RMR: 2607 +/- 649
    Measured RMR after 30 weeks: 1996 +/- 358
    Measured RMR after 6 years: 1903 +/- 466

    On average, study participants put back on 70% of the weight they lost, but their RMRs are LOWER than when they were at their lowest weight. If you accept the conclusions of this study, your metabolism is worse off than before if you lose the weight and regain a big chunk of it. The difference between measured RMR between inital and after 6 years is very dramatic - definitely not the ~30% you'd expect to see.

    It's very fair to NOT accept these conclusions - TDEE was in line with what was expected (3804 kcal at max weight, 3429 with 70% regain), and RMR was about what would be predicted by the Katch-McArdle formula instead of Hall's own derived formula. The researchers are dealing with a very small sample size of people who underwent an extreme process that most dieters don't resort to. Generally I think this study is bordering on junk science, but every time I see those RMR numbers I can't help but wonder if giant weight swings or yo-yoing has more effect than we might think.
  • ZenDreamZenDream Member Posts: 197 Member Member Posts: 197 Member
    From TDEE, caloric deficits cause reduction in weight/fat, maintenance keeps you at whatever weight etc, and caloric surplus will increase weight/fat and muscle gains. Diets and or whatever framework or product, typically cause deficits and sometimes we go off the diet ie deficit and we gain. Anyway you slice it, any product or type of program out there, boils down to deficit, if the goal is to reduce and the rest is packaging and marketing. If it helps people then great, but fundamentally, it's that relationship with caloric deficits, maintenance or surplus.
  • IronIsMyTherapyIronIsMyTherapy Member Posts: 381 Member Member Posts: 381 Member
    That question is too general. Statistically, diets have a -5% success rate but that's mostly due to the "dieting" method. I strongly recommend "Fat Loss Forever" by Layne Norton.
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