No matter how we lose weight, weight regain is so prevalent that it is considered the norm by most experts in the field of weight control. The often quoted factoid, that 98% of people who lose weight gain it all back within 2 years, has been consistently verified.
However, the fact that many people have successfully maintained their weight is testimony that it is possible. Our own data, and that from many other programs, suggest that the single best predictor of weight maintenance is how long people continue getting support during maintenance. The problem is that very few programs offer a true maintenance program. Most programs encourage people to continue coming into a center for the sole purpose of selling them more products and services. I am proud to be associated with a program that has had people on maintenance for more than 25 years!
Some of our most successful patients start on a program, achieve their weight loss goal, and follow the Lifetime Maintenance recommendations on their own even if they no longer come into the clinic. By weighing themselves often, they immediately become aware of weight gain in excess of their predetermined threshold and restart the program if they surpass it.
You will probably not be surprised to learn that the number-one cause of weight regain is stress. I can’t tell you how often I’ve sat with patients who had once lost a lot of weight and are now heavier than ever after having undergone severe emotional turmoil or persistent daily stress. Cynthia Graff, Lindora’s president and CEO, has long appreciated the importance of minimizing stress, making it a cornerstone of the Staying Lean for Life™ program. Lindora is the only weight control program I’m aware of that provides comprehensive stress management.
There is a national clearinghouse of data on people who have successfully lost at least 30 lbs. and kept it off for more than 2 years. It is the National Weight Control Registry sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Through nationwide advertising, they’ve only been able to identify about 1,000 people who have reached that goal. Lindora has contributed hundreds of names to the registry and continues to work with them and others to identify the most effective weight maintenance strategies.