It’s a widely quoted statistic: 95 percent of people regain lost weight. Such a statistic makes you wonder if you should even bother with the workouts and the healthy eating. Before you turn your treadmill into a sanctuary for unfolded laundry and hang-dry only clothing, you should know a few facts about why people regain weight and exactly where that astonishing statistic originated.
The year is 1959 and a small study out of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders concludes that 95 percent of people regain weight within a few months to a year of losing it. The study included only 100 participants and made a catchy headline that rapidly became a centerpiece in the mythology of obesity.
In 1999, two doctors set out to determine if this discouraging fact was indeed a fact. Dr. Wena Ring and Dr. James O. Hill conducted an analysis of the National Weight Control Registry and quickly identified more 2,000 success stories of weight loss and maintenance. This surprising information spurred them to compile more detailed data and survey the successful dieters. They found that on average, most dieters maintained a loss of 67 pounds for five years and 12 to 14 percent maintained long-term losses of more than 100 pounds – proving that the 95 percent failure rate was poorly founded.
So if success isn’t so futile, then why do so many people regain lost weight?
The wrong mindset
The number one reason people regain weight is the diet mentality. The word “diet” earned its reputation as a four-letter word because it has become associated with a period of deprivation and what some would classify as torture. For many, “diet” means a set span of time during which you must exercise superhuman willpower to resist delicious temptation and overwhelming pains of hunger at the end of which you can finally reward yourself with junk food favorites.
Very few individuals perceive the concept that healthy eating is not finite – it’s a lifelong commitment. Fad diets don’t work, because you can’t sustain that way of eating forever. Choose a healthy eating plan that incorporates whole, nutritionally balanced foods