Past yo-yo dieting cuts women's weight loss success

December 3, 2002 in Weight Management, Women's Health

Past yo-yo dieting cuts women's weight loss success

Overweight middle-aged women who want to shed a few pounds will be most successful if they are highly motivated, if their ideal weight is not vastly different from their actual weight, and if their dieting history does not include yo-yo dieting, according to new study findings from the University of Arizona. The findings may help women and weight-loss specialists predict if an individual will be successful in achieving their desired weight reduction.

The researchers looked at 112 overweight women, aged 40 to 55, who were enrolled in a 2-year weight loss and maintenance program. Their findings are based on the women's success during the first 4 months of the program. All of the women lost some weight during the study. However, the 37 women who were most successful in losing weight initially reported the lowest number of recent and repeated diet attempts and the highest levels of body satisfaction--i.e. their target weights were the closest to their actual weights.

These women lost 6.4 or more kilograms (about 14 pounds) and achieved a minimum 90% of their target weight loss, the report indicates. The least successful women, in contrast, achieved only about 25% of their target weight loss, losing a maximum 1.9 kilograms (about 4 pounds). These women initially reported a history of yo-yo dieting, higher levels of body dissatisfaction, lower self-esteem and lower self-motivation to lose weight. They also indicated that they would be less satisfied with smaller weight losses at the start of the study and perceived their weight to have a greater impact on their quality of life, particularly their work life.

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