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Quick weight loss works too (but you’ll still regain it)

November 7, 2014

Weight LossFat HealthFat ScienceExerciseEating DisordersMy Boring-Ass LifeWeight Loss SurgeryDickweedDiet Talk

Trigger warning: Discussion of weight loss and weight loss surgery.

Saying that “Quick weight loss works too” about as well as slow weight loss isn’t saying much. How many times have we been told that losing weight slowly is the way to lose the most weight? And how many of us have done that, and then regained some, most, all, or more weight back? How does rapid weight loss stack up against the tried-and-not-so-true slow weight loss?


In a randomized trial, there was no difference in long-term weight regain whether patients lost their weight fast or slow, Joseph Proietto, PhD, of the University of Melbourne, and colleagues reported online in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Really? I wonder if the same holds true for the number of people who regain their lost weight. If it does, then why the fuck are they still recommending diets as the “cure” for obesity? This article doesn’t even address the number of people who regained weight, just the amount regained. Maybe it’s because they consider any amount of weight lost and kept off for a year or two as “success” (lmao).

“Across the world, guidelines recommend gradual weight loss for the treatment of obesity, reflecting the widely held belief that fast weight loss is more quickly regained,” co-author Katrina Purcell, BSc, of the University of Melbourne, said in a statement. “However, our results show that achieving a weight-loss target of 12.5% is more likely, and dropout is lower, if losing weight is done quickly.”

Well, here’s another “No shit, Sherlock” moment. Dropout is lower, if losing weight is done quickly. Gee, could that be because people can’t sustain a drastically-reduced calorie diet for very long? At least, not without binging at the end of it (or in the middle of it), or without having all kinds of psychological problems (anxiety, mood swings, edginess, etc.).

Guidelines do indeed recommend gradual weight loss, but researchers have questioned whether that leads to better outcomes. Proietto and colleagues enrolled 204 obese adults and assigned them to either a 12-week rapid weight-loss program (using a very low calorie diet of 450 to 800 kcal/day) or to a 36-week gradual weight-loss program (lowering daily intake by 500 kcal/day in line with current dietary weight-loss guidelines).

WT everloving F?! Try putting me on a diet of 450 to 800 calories a day and I will tear your head off after a couple of days of it. If I don’t eat enough, I turn into PsychoBitchFromHell (just ask my husband, he can testify to that).

As for lowering intake by 500 calories a day, are they still going by that old canard that one pound is 3,500 calories? Seems like it, if they’re saying that eating 3,500 calories less a week is going to result in slow weight loss (yeah, been there done that, it does not work).

Those who lost more than 12.5% of their weight were subsequently placed on a weight maintenance diet for 3 years.
Participants in the fast weight-loss group were more likely to hit their target weight loss: 81% of them lost at least 12.5% of their body weight compared with just 50% of those in the general weight-loss group.

Let me get this straight — if people didn’t lose more than 12.5% of their starting weight, they were ignored? Only the ones who lost 12.5% were put on a maintenance diet for three years. WTF!? For me, losing 12.5% of my starting weight means I would have had to lose 50 pounds. Sorry, it took me six months to lose 70 pounds after I had WLS. And yes, I was eating between 500 and 800 calories a day (that’s if I didn’t upchuck everything I ate, which happened more often than not). So they’re saying it’s possible to lose an average of over four pounds a week (LMAO). Notice they aren’t saying anything at all about the safety of this kind of dieting.

Oh, and how well did that maintenance diet work? Well, here’s what they had to say about that:

The researchers found that the initial rate of weight loss had no effect on weight regain in the long run, with a similar amount (71%) regained in both groups after 3 years.

Those who lost weight rapidly gained back the same amount of weight as those who lost it slowly. So 71% of that 50-pound weight loss for me would mean I would have regained 35.5 pounds. That’s really a best-case scenario — anyone who has yo-yo dieted knows that it’s very likely one would regain all of the lost weight, and maybe a bit more. So these people went through all of this to ultimately only lose 3.625% of their starting weight. Yeah, somehow, I don’t think 12 weeks of starvation is worth that small of a weight loss.

Notice, again, that they aren’t saying how many of those people regained that 71% of lost weight. Want to bet it was at least 90% and that’s why they aren’t saying anything?

In an accompanying editorial, Corby Martin, MD, and Kishore Gadde, MD, of Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., said the study indicates that a “slow and steady approach does not win the race, and the myth that rapid weight loss is associated with rapid weight regain is no more true than Aesop’s fable.”

Yes, and it’s also a myth that most people can lose weight, any amount of weight, and keep it off forever.

“Clinicians should bear in mind that different weight-loss approaches might be suitable for different patients in the management of clinical obesity,” they wrote, “and that efforts to curb the speed of initial weight loss might hinder their ultimate weight-loss success.”

You know what hinders ultimate weight loss success? The fact that there is no safe, proven way to lose weight and keep it off forever, not for the majority of people. So to keep on recommending something that hasn’t worked in the past, isn’t working now, and won’t work in the future is futility and blindness at its best. The fact that it’s all in the name of “health” (read “we don’t like looking at fat people, so of course they can’t possibly be healthy and that just has to change”) is what makes this so rage-inducing.

When are these researchers going to stop focusing on weight loss as the way to health, and start focusing on behavior changes? And when are people going to realize that “health” is not a moral imperative? Probably about the time they realize that all people have the right to exist free from judgmental asshattedness about bodies, looks, gender, race, sexuality, ability/disability, and every other aspect that makes each and every one of us unique human beings.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Dizzyd permalink
    November 7, 2014 1:43 pm

    Oh yeah, I’m sure that you can lose weight rapidly by starving yourself to death. It may not be safe, but it will make you conform to the standard that society demands of us. And isn’t it really what this is all about? It’s no more about health than it is about conformity. And now I can see them deciding that rapid weight loss is oh-so-good for us and deciding that we must all do that for our so-called “health” or else. Because to them, the only thing that matters is that you are conformed to their standard, and who cares whether it’s good for you or not.

  2. mzmoose permalink
    November 7, 2014 3:09 pm

    And the wheel is invented again. Garner & Wooley said this in 1991.

    Sadly, nobody listened then, and nobody will listen now. There was a NEJM article just this past may about how 61% of Americans believe that obesity is caused by personal choices, despite a CENTURY of evidence that shows otherwise.

    I’m getting so burned out with fighting this fight. But what can I say about a country where 7% of the population believe we’re being controlled by lizard people?

  3. Dizzyd permalink
    November 9, 2014 5:20 pm


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