We live in a society that values instant gratification. But new research shows that when it comes to weight loss, if you really want to see results, you need to take the long view.
A new study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology, found the best way to maintain a healthy weight is to stick to a diet for 12 months. I know it doesn't seem groundbreaking that dieting for a year will help you lose weight. But there's a special twist to this research: After 12 months your body undergoes chemical changes that make it easier for you to lose weight.
For the study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen tracked 20 obese men and women over a one-year period. For the first eight weeks, the participants followed a low-calorie diet that jump-started a weight-loss plan. After those two months, they followed a "strict" maintenance diet for 10 more months. Researchers tracked the patients' weights and took blood samples before, during, and after the study period.
Not surprisingly, the participants lost weight and maintained their weight loss for the year. But what was surprising was that after the 12-month study period, researchers found that the participants had undergone chemical changes that made them less hungry! Specifically, the participants produced less of the hunger-inducing hormone ghrelin and more of the appetite-suppressing hormone GLP-1.
Here's what this boils down to: if you want to lose weight, fad diets don't cut it. Instead, commit to one year of a realistic diet that includes fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and healthy fats. After one year, you'll find that eating healthy is easier than it once was. In other words, give it a year, and the effects will last a lifetime.