If people gain lost weight back 90%+ of the time regardless why not crash diet?

Just musing.

It’s time for me to cycle my weight down again for the umpteenth time in my life and I’m wondering. If the vast majority of people who diet fast or slow are going to gain the weight back anyway why not lose it faster with a very strict diet that blows the weight off? I could understand the “slow is better, starving is very bad” approach if it had some real lasting effect of being able to keep the weight off longer, but it doesn’t, not really.

Whether you lost it fast or slow real world it’s all coming back again like a freight train when you get bored, or fall off the wagon and begin stress eating again etc., so why not get it off more quickly vs more slowly? The health benefits of not carrying a big load of fat around would (I think) be more profound than the discomfort or risks of a fast loss, low calorie diet.

Because crash diets are usually in and of themselves unhealthy. You don’t get enough protein and iron, and may not get enough fat to properly metabolize fat soluable vitamins.

At any rate, many people can lose weight and keep it off, just not as much as they want. I have a cousin would would love to weight about 130lbs. She actually weighs about 160lbs, and has weighed that for several years. Prior to that she weighed well over 200lbs. She went from morbidly obese to “just” overweight, and is much healthier. She knows if she crash diets down to 130, she will probably yo-yo back up to something over 160. So she stays contentedly and 160. She feels good. IMO, she looks good, and doesn’t feel deprived.

She lost the weight slowly. Granted, part of it had to do with a medication change, but it also had to do with a very deliberate revamping of her diet and whole way of eating. She did get down to 145, and then was struggling, and gave into temptation, got back up to about 175 really quickly, resumed her improved diet, settled at 160, and has stayed there.

Her blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, etc., are all really good, and she rides a bicycle everywhere, so her resting heartrate is good too.

Everything I’ve read indicates it’s the other way 'round. Rapid weight loss is stressful in and of itself and sometimes can have lasting negative effects.

Alternatively, a non-crash died would (for many people) amend their eating habits in a way that might be semi-permanent, reducing the tendency to regain the weight. A crash-diet would be closed-ended, with the dieter looking forward to resuming his habitual eating disorder.

When I wanted to lose weight I stopped eating between 8 pm and 6 am (no exceptions), reduced snacking and didn’t take second helpings. Skipped most deserts too, like ice cream or cake. Other than that, I didn’t change how or what I ate.

Right. Crash diets are not good for your health. This article has some quotes from doctors and a nutritionist amusingly named Linda Bacon:

You may yo-yo, but you are more likely to gain the weight back if you crash diet.

*ivylass, who lost 40 pounds eight years ago and has kept it off ever since.

I’m down 50lbs from my highest weight over the last several years. I cut out soda and fast food, that quickly dropped 20lbs. I don’t eat a lot of dessert, and my portions sizes are much smaller. Beyond that I eat pretty much anything I want. For me, I think reducing portion sizes was the key. I also exercise 5-6 days per week, which takes up time that I could be stuffing my face.

When I started losing weight I didn’t want to go too fast, because of several reasons: higher risk of loose skin, fat-soluble toxins being released, muscle loss. The first 18 months or so was pretty easy but in the next 18 months I haven’t really lost much even though I have a bunch more to lose. So now I’m thinking I should have taken advantage of the easy phase by going a bit faster then.

Of course if you go in assuming you’ll gain it back then I’m not sure what the point is. The health benefits come with only a 10% or so weight loss, which shouldn’t be too hard to maintain. So go for that rather than crash diet and have your muscles atrophy while your body gets used to starvation.

iljitsch is correct. The benefits of weight loss can be had for just a 7%-10% weight loss. And there are MANY benefits. Obesity has 30+ comorbidities, ie things that are causally linked to obesity. So that small weight loss can help with many other ailments.
The real problem in weight loss is setting too high a goal. If you can lose 10% and keep it off you are much better off than losing half your body weight then gaining it back.
The body fights against weight loss with hormonal changes that trigger the desire to eat. The problem is that these changes last for at least a year, probably longer. So diet must be a lifestyle change. Doctors prefer the term healthy eating because it’s not a “diet” in the “never eat anything you like” sense. It’s just eating better food in smaller portions. It’s a fight. But if you plateau at 10% loss, that’s great. You don’t need to push for more. But eating better, being more active, and sticking with it will probably get you farther anyway, if you continue.

Crash dieting can also cause organ damage. Probably less healthy than carrying around a spare tire.

Margaret Cho gave herself kidney damageby crash dieting.

Yo-yoing is, in itself, unhealthy. If you lose weight slowly, you are much more likely to actually change your eating habits. I lost about 30% of my body weight just by portion control (which led to a 10% loss), then starting on metformin (about 8% of my original weight), and then stopped eating between meals (12%) and I have hovered around that point for about three years. I am still overweight, but my doctor wants me to stop. I eat nearly everything (much less sugat than before), just in smaller portions. No special diet, although I began with the zone diet, which is primarily portion control.

It is my understanding that crash dieters have better maintenence records than people who lose slow. I am not sure if that is a consistent finding, that is just based on an abstract I once read comparing lcd vs vlcd dieters and their follow ups.

I don’t think crash dieting is that bad for you is it? By crash dieting I mean 800-1200 calories a day for a woman and 1200-1800 a day for a man. If you have enough nutrients or electrolytes (drink your brawndo) how dangerous is that vs running a 500-1000 calories a day deficit. Margaret cho tried to lose 30 pounds in two week, which can’t be done. I associate rapid weight loss with losing 4-7 pounds a week.

In the documentary fat sick and nearly dead the main character Joe ate about 1600 calories a day and lost 80 pounds in 2 months. But he was over 300 to start and he as doing a lot of walking, his daily needs may have been 5000 calories a day.

The number of people who go from obese to healthy BMI and maintain it long term effectively rounds to zero.

You can lose weight and keep it off, best done slow and low, and best done if staying in your lane or close to it.

For example, a man who is 6’ tall and 300 lbs could probably drop 30 in a slow, controlled manner, do it with good health, and boost his health, and learn new habits that see him keeping 20-30 lbs off long term. His lane is 270-300. He can probably stay at the 270 side of the lane with extreme mental commitment.

Were he to crash his way there, it’s likely he’d rebound up to 320 and his new lane would be 300-330. He’d creep up to 330. He could have adversely affected his health on the way down, and then doubled down on adverse affects on the way up.

What doesn’t happen in life is people going from obese to healthy and staying there. It’s so rare as to be less common than a rare disease. Slow, crash, removing parts of your digestive system, closing off parts, psychologists, extreme expense/care/attention/nutritionists: Doesn’t matter

With surgery I think the long term (5+ years) success rates are closer to 40-60%, but w/o surgery the long term success rates are terrible and closer to 5%. Some people do it, but the vast majority who try will fail and many will end up fatter than they are now.

It could be as easy as giving someone who loses weight leptin and a leptin sensitizer. If a person is 310 lbs and drops to 180, then you give them a drug to make leptin receptors more sensitive as well as synthetic leptin, that may help them maintain the loss. But I don’t know if any large scale studies on this have been done on humans, plus a study like that would need 5+ years to get results.

I’m currently on my 100th (made that up - I have no idea how many) diet in yet another attempt to lose weight and keep it off. I’ve lost dozens of times and I know the stats are against me.

That said, why is there so much fat shaming? (Not on SDMB - heaven forfend!) If it’s as hard as buggery to lose the weight (and it is) and pretty near impossible to keep it off, surely a bit less aggro towards our chubbier citizens is in order?

Never startle your body. It has very few ways of reacting, and they’re generally unpleasant.

I’m against fat shaming, because eating is – essentially – an involuntary function, which we’ve deluded ourselves into thinking is voluntary.

We’re food zombies.

Extreme weight loss through gastric bypasses are their ilk are running at a 3% success rate, but this is not “goes from obese to healthy BMI”. That just doesn’t happen long term.

30+ years of going to gyms and of knowing what am’ts to thousands upon thousands of diet attempts of family, friends and gym patrons. I cannot cite a single person as someone who went from obese to healthy BMI and maintained it.

Even if you could name someone, I could name dozens of Poweball and MegaMillions winners, but no one should make life plans around believing they can and will hit either.


Now I feel even more depressed.

I believe for bariatric surgery, people on average maintain a loss of 50% of their excess weight for 5-15 years or more. So a person with a bmi of 44 may drop to 33,but they will likely not drop to 25 and stay there. For diet and exercise alone then rates are closer to 5% maintenance, and I think after five years the percent of dieters who are fatter is higher than the percent who are thinner.

The best advice medical science can give is to ignore biology and engage in behaviors that will probably make the underlying problem worse. Which surprisingly is not effective.

There is a communication between the digestive system, fat cells and the brain to determine appetite and fat levels. Until science figures out how that works and can manipulate it we won’t have a cure for obesity. Who knows when that will happen.