Achievable outcomes focus of long-term postmenopausal weight loss
medwireNews: Research shows that successful long-term weight loss in postmenopausal women is associated with implementation of realistic and achievable dietary changes such as reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and desserts.
A major problem with many diet and weight loss programs is maintenance of weight loss achieved over the short term.
"Not only does motivation decrease after you start losing weight, there are physiological changes, including a decreased resting metabolic rate. Appetite-related hormones [also] increase," commented lead study author Bethany Barone Gibbs (University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA) in a press statement.
"Researchers studying the brain are now finding that you have enhanced rewards and increased motivation to eat when you've lost weight," she added.
To investigate factors associated with long- versus short-term weight loss further, Barone Gibbs and co-authors analyzed information on weight loss and associated factors collected on 481 overweight or obese postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women on the Move through Activity and Nutrition (WOMAN) Study at baseline, 6-, and 48-months follow up.
At 6 months, factors that were significantly associated with weight loss included decreased dessert, sugar-sweetened drink, and fried food consumption, less eating out at restaurants, and increased fish consumption.
At 48 months, decreased dessert and sugar-sweetened drink consumption, but not reduced fried food consumption or eating out at restaurants, were associated with maintenance of/further weight loss. Decreased meat or cheese consumption and increased fruit and vegetable consumption were also associated with weight loss at 48, but not 6 months.
Commenting on the results, which are published in the Journal of the academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Barone Gibbs remarked: "People are so motivated when they start a weight loss program. You can say, 'I'm never going to eat another piece of pie,' and you see the pounds coming off. Eating fruits and vegetables may not make as big a difference in your caloric intake. But that small change can build up and give you a better long-term result, because it's not as hard to do as giving up French fries forever."
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By Helen Albert, Senior medwireNews Reporter