For Weight-Loss Success, Slow Is The Way To Go

Realistic goals help keep pounds off

By John Casey
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

Yo-yo dieting. Creeping weight gain. It goes by many names, some of which are unprintable here, but we all have it -- that tendency to put back on weight we have worked hard to get off.

In many ways, it makes no difference how you accomplish the weight loss -- whether it's by working with your doctor or nutritionist to develop a plan of diet changes; with diet medications and increased exercise; or whether you simply cut out Krispy Kremes, Ding Dongs, and Cheetos in favor of low-fat foods. What does matter, say many weight-management experts, is having realistic goals about where your weight is now and where you want it to be a long way down the road. Realistic expectations, experts say, can be a big help in keeping the pounds from coming back.

"When a person who has dieted extensively to lose weight keeps the reality of the situation in mind, that person knows that weight management is long-term," says Ali H. Mokdad, PhD, a senior epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who is an expert in obesity and one of its many related conditions: namely, diabetes.

"It's nothing special to drop a few pounds, but for an obese or chronically overweight patient to lose 10% of their weight and keep it off for a long time, that is the kind of weight control that will add greatly to a patient's quality of life later in life as they avoid or minimize [related] conditions of obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, even some types of cancers."