The SparkPeople Blog

The Best Diet for Weight Loss

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/1/2012 10:00 AM   :  50 comments   :  27,788 Views

See More: news, weight loss, diet,
We’re a society that tends to love quick fixes.  Even though you know deep down that a diet promising you’ll “lose 30 pounds in 30 days” is too good to be true, it’s still tempting to try.  When your hard work doesn’t show immediate results on the scale, it’s easy to get discouraged.  But what’s worse:  losing a bunch of weight quickly, only to gain it all back?  Or losing weight slowly in a healthy way that’s going to help you keep it off for good?  A new study validates the idea that those who succeed in keeping the weight off do it by eating less and exercising more.  
 
The study, published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, looked at data collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  Researchers identified 4,000 people over a 5-year period that had been obese for at least a year before participating in the study.  63% had tried to lose weight within the past year.  They used a variety of techniques, including popular diets, weight loss drugs and traditional calorie counting.   Of those who attempted to lose weight, 41% were able to shed at least 5% of their body weight (which can have a positive impact on health) and 20% were able to lose at least 10% of their body weight. 
Among those who lost the most weight, there were trends as to what helped them reach their goals.  Some of the highlights include:
  • 65% ate less food
  • 44% ate less fat
  • 41% switched to lower calorie foods
“Here’s what the dieters tried that didn’t work:
  • 14% ate “diet foods or products”
  • 10% used nonprescription diet pills, including herbal remedies
  • 7% adopted a “liquid-diet formula.”
Those dieters who had the most success also said that joining a weight loss program and having that additional structure was helpful in their progress.  Did you know that the encouragement you need is right at your fingertips?  One of the reasons I love SparkPeople so much is that we’re not about quick-fixes.  This study reinforces what we’ve known all along:  there’s no big secret to successful weight loss.  The key is eating less and moving more.  And while you’re working toward your goals, you have the support of our Community to help cheer for your accomplishments and pick you back up when you’ve had a bad day. 
 
 
What do you think?  If you’ve successfully lost weight and kept it off, do you agree with the conclusions of this study? 


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Comments

  • 50
    I've already lost 10% of my body weight here and feel like I'll have no issue keeping it off. I lost the first 13 lbs slowly, not even tracking food, just eating smaller portions and much less processed food (I eat very little processed food). the last 4 lbs I lost faster, tracking food and keeping to smaller portions. I eat a lot of fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean protein. I make a majority of my meals at home. I walk for transit, swim and do workout videos. I also almost exclusively drink water. I drink some tea and coffee as well but have basically lost my taste for pop. I drink carbonated water sometimes because I like the bubbles but I dislike the cloying sweetness of pop. - 7/9/2014   12:23:35 PM
  • 49
    My personal opinion – I did the HGC diet and lost a lot of weight in a short period of time (45 +pounds in 62 days). And during that short period of time, I was encouraged not to exercise; due to a low calorie diet (lean protein / very low carb and no sugar diet). And thank God I was encouraged not to exercise, because I was nursing a torn Achilles tendon (by being laid up with a cast/ walking boot – minimal walking or standing). I will also write, during the journey of my diet; I was closely monitored by a Naturopathic Doctor of my progress (weekly visits). I will admit though, my regular doctor wasn’t too happy that I did it but I did explain to him that it was just a jump start in to a new life. And during those days of my diet, I did educate myself in eating right and I planned out a workout routine when this diet was over. And now that I am off the diet and I have been given a thumbs up to start working out. I have been eating right; including calorie counting (by Sparkpeople) and I have begun a work out regiment in the morning. The Final Outcome --- not only have I managed to maintain my weight but I am still losing it, so in my experience – I kind have begged to differ on this article. However, I suggest before doing what I’ve done; I would talk to professionals who can guide you in the right direction. Just my opinion! - 7/9/2014   10:08:21 AM
  • KAREBEAR7983
    48
    Ihave been eating healthy and exercising for four years i have lost over 80lbs and kept it off. I am almost at my goal weight, i believe small healthy changes and exercise is the best way to go. - 7/9/2014   6:28:27 AM
  • 47
    I think losing slowly and making small changes over time is the way to go. It's worked for me so far (down 12 lbs since last September, weight lost over the holidays even). I don't even count calories. I do watch my portions, eat (usually) only when hungry, eat more nutritious food, and make a point to move more. I still have 40lbs to go and I'm looking at the end of this year or the beginning of next as when I'll probably make goal...and I'm happy with that. I'm thirty and will then do the same thing I've been doing all along (which isn't that hard) to maintain a healthy weight for the rest of my life. - 1/14/2014   12:33:37 PM
  • 46
    I would have to say I agree 100% with this article. I've been on and off diets for years, ate all the "diet" this and that. But, until I finally made up my mind that this is a lifestyle change and also gave up "frozen diet meals", diet and regular soda and amped up my exercise, I was spinning my wheels. I finally got serious on my eating in August, got a SPAT in October (which motivates me to move MORE) and I have lost 23 pounds! I do agree on some of the advertisers that are on here but, hey, we don't have to buy their products. This is still a free country and they help keep the site free. - 1/14/2014   8:12:53 AM
  • 45
    i know for myself, slow loss and life changes helped me lose 30 lbs over 18 months. problem was i quit smoking -and in spite of all my efforts to keep my loss i not only gained it back, but an additional 15lbs [after starting smoking again-talk about unfair!!!] not sure what will work- if anything - this time but i'll keep trying.. can't handle all this extra weight :( - 10/25/2013   7:41:52 PM
  • ASLER32
    44
    I personally prefer natural ways of losing the weight according to me the finest way of losing weight is by maintaining the amount of calories and making a proper exercise plan for me that always work.But what you have posted is something really appreciable.

    http://www.fortefitness.com / - 4/19/2013   12:31:23 PM
  • JONES125
    43
    Raw veggies, and water foods diets are the best for the natural weight loss. Take fresh fruits and raw vegetables, salads, fish, citrus fruits juices, green tea, and green vegetables soups etc. in daily diet to burn your fat and lose the excess of your weight.


    http://www.bootcampmaitland.com.au





    - 4/1/2013   11:20:26 AM
  • 42
    I have found that slow and sure is the best way to lose. Not only do you become familiar with what you are doing you are taking the time to learn about yourself and how you gained weight in the first place. The quick fixes are great in the giving immediate weight loss but what do you really learn about what caused you to gain weight. The immediate success masks the underlying problem. Journaling, educating, paying attention to what you are doing eating less and becoming more active may be too slow for some, but I've lost 45 pounds and kept it off for five years. Still have some to go but I haven't regained those 45. Keep up the good work everyone! - 5/8/2012   6:40:58 AM
  • OREONSASSY1
    41
    It is all about calories in a calories out. If you expend more calories than you take in you lose weight. It is that simple. There is no need to worry about carbs, fats or sugars as long as you burn them off. As you lower your calorie intake you will more than likely lower the carbs, fats and sugars also in your diet. The balanced approach is usually the healthiest approach. - 5/5/2012   8:57:14 AM
  • BOBCAT58
    40
    I've been on more fad diets than I can count, and all I lost was time and money. Gimmicks don't work, except to make money for the people who invent them. - 5/5/2012   6:43:35 AM
  • BMOODY9
    39
    Being a past Sparkpeople member I can say that this program worked for me better than others. It is worth the work and it is really great reading post from people with similar goals. Thanks for the support. - 5/4/2012   2:51:00 AM
  • 38
    why is it that an article about sensible weight loss is giving me adverts telling me i can lose 12 STONE in 4 WEEKS using 1 trick.....
    i know, and love the fact, that spark is free but these adverts are really not appropriate not to metion annoying when they pop up about 3 times on words in the articles - 5/3/2012   11:37:35 AM
  • 37
    I agree. I started on a weight loss program ( just making some changes in my life) 2 yrs. ago. I started sparks on Jan 17 this year. Down 87 pounds so far. Down 27 through Sparks. Hoping to make 100 by July 1 and be down another 45 by the end of the year. I am a bit (quite a bit) impatient and so I have to remind myself that I have to eat to stay out of starvation mode.
    - 5/2/2012   7:09:55 PM
  • 36
    Love the article, and I agree with it 100%!!! - 5/2/2012   2:30:32 PM
  • 35
    I lost 60 lb keep it off for 10 years if i did that i can do this i will be getting weight in at the gym on friday so far i lost maybe 10 lb or more. - 5/2/2012   2:04:03 PM
  • SSEARE
    34
    Enjoyed this article. One thing I've learned over the past few months on Spark People is that I eat far greater volume with healthy foods than I did with calorie-dense foods. So, while I do eat far fewer calories I actually eat more food per calorie. Between healthy eating and consistently working out, I am losing weight and am happier than I have been in years. - 5/2/2012   1:38:57 PM
  • 33
    Good article, but everyone does need to eat some healthy fats. One thing I was taught though, do not get processed foods that say they are low in fat...for when they say that, most likely they have added sugar (carbs) to make it taste okay, which, for anyone who is either diabetic or on a low-carb diet, that is a bad thing. - 5/2/2012   11:30:52 AM
  • 32
    Good Article !!! - 5/2/2012   10:52:51 AM
  • 31
    It doesn't take a study to know that. I agree - 5/2/2012   10:25:19 AM
  • 30
    I agree 100% ! - 5/2/2012   10:18:02 AM
  • 29
    Good article. - 5/2/2012   10:01:52 AM
  • 28
    the eat less part won't work for me because i know that i won't be satisfied.
    Soooooooooo I eat until i am comfortable then i quit after that. - 5/2/2012   9:25:02 AM
  • CATRIPL
    27
    Great article. - 5/2/2012   9:22:45 AM
  • HEALTHYBOOMER
    26
    I love that the article also points to the importance group support. The best way to meet any goals in life is to have accountability partners and I believe that's why SPARK is so successful. - 5/2/2012   9:13:56 AM
  • 25
    Great article with the ring of truth. Thanks! - 5/2/2012   8:06:54 AM
  • 24
    Definately have to reduce the amount you eat, and combine that with moving more to get the results that you want. Consistent and long-lasting weight loss. - 5/2/2012   6:38:12 AM
  • 23
    Eat and move for health. Let the weighloss be a bonus. - 5/2/2012   6:10:35 AM
  • 22
    A great reminder, for sure. - 5/2/2012   5:30:07 AM
  • 21
    through increasing my walking - being more aware of moving my body - eating portion sizes - eating what i like -- and making note to myself that do i really want that latte of 210 calories or would i rather have some food that is equal to that amount of calories -- sometimes its okay to indulge in those treats - but remembering should not have them every day that is self sabotaging --
    being more aware of choices is really what it is about - and i dont believe dieticians - i believe my herbalist sooner than I would a dieticain or even a dr - sadly our society praises drs more than herbalists - why cant they work together i really do not know -- - 5/1/2012   11:02:37 PM
  • 20
    i have been seeing a herbalist for 3 yrs - finally I am on track with health - getting better all the time - 5/1/2012   11:02:37 PM
  • 19
    oops - 5/1/2012   11:02:30 PM
  • 18
    deleted - 5/1/2012   11:02:29 PM
  • 17
    That is a study about weight loss, not about weight maintenance. - 5/1/2012   9:25:15 PM
  • 16
    This just proves what we all know : Every diet, any diet, only works as hard as you do for long term health and lifestyle changes. - 5/1/2012   7:30:00 PM
  • 15
    You mean I have to work hard and eat right to lose weight. ;) - 5/1/2012   6:07:45 PM
  • 14
    I think diets work when you can incorporate exercise with eating "real" food. I've had success with WW and with Southbeach and I think it's because you need to prepare your meals with actual everyday food and not any pre-packaged food. It may be quicker and easier to prepare but, you are wiser on how to eat for the rest of your life if you are the one who makes it. - 5/1/2012   4:12:22 PM
  • 13
    I totally agree! Sparkpeople has worked for me better than any fad diet that relies on willpower. *Being aware of what is going on in our life is absolutely key - 5/1/2012   2:36:28 PM
  • 12
    i think all of the above can work depending on the person AND their overALL commitment to a healthy lifestyle. i personally have had ongoing slow and steady success with weightloss incorporating ALL (6) above listed under what did and did NOT work. i think the overarching goal of health vs weightloss purely for its own sake help dictate the comprehensive choices that people make in the long run which ultimately determine their success. just my two cents. - 5/1/2012   1:38:30 PM
  • 11
    this just proves that slow and steady will win the race. The weight didn't just appear overnight so it is truly unrealistic to expect it to disappear that way. - 5/1/2012   1:35:18 PM
  • CSMITH37872
    10
    I did a fad diet and lost 50lbs quickly, I did gain some back but not all but the fad diet did help me to realize that I could do it and have now re-lost most of what I gained back sometimes I think people need a little boost and sometimes the fad diet can be that.
    - 5/1/2012   12:47:43 PM
  • 9
    I wasn't entirely clear what the study's conclusions were until I went and read the article, and that left me going "well, duh". How is it even a surprise or needing a study to know that eating less, exercising more, and being in a program with others around for support are the most helpful things to lose weight? - 5/1/2012   12:25:03 PM
  • ACICEDA
    8
    Just more proof on what is really needed for permanent weight loss. I've done the fad and found that programs like SP actually work along with my committment to food journaling and consistency in moving. - 5/1/2012   12:20:52 PM
  • 7
    I, too, completely agree with this article. The only way the I have found to consistently lose weight has been to change my eating and exercise habits. I eat more fruits, veggies, and whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. I exercise more...even if it's just getting in some extra walking over the course of a day. I'm just getting started, so I can't speak to the "keeping it off" part at this point of my experience, but I'm confident that with this lifestyle change, not diet, I will be able to maintain my weight loss and retain my new healthy habits. - 5/1/2012   12:16:58 PM
  • 6
    "The key is eating less and moving more" I absolutely agree 100%...I've also tried that other junk, pills, weight loss foods, etc...and the only thing that truely shows to work is reducing your daily calorie intake by at least 500 calories and MOVE MOVE MOVE!!! - 5/1/2012   11:44:16 AM
  • 5
    I agree that the successful way to lose weight is to lower your intake a reasonable amount, and logging the food has worked great for me. I become more aware of what I'm eating and why just by logging the food. I won't increase my calorie intake unless I can consistently raise my calorie outgo with exercise. - 5/1/2012   11:03:05 AM
  • FIT-HEALTHY1
    4
    I totally agree! - 5/1/2012   10:56:29 AM
  • CHEFMOM1199
    3
    I could not agree more! There is no such thing as a fast fix to a healthy lifestyle! I constantly say that slow and steady wins the race and I believe it 100%! Every time a friend says they are going on a new "diet" and then tell me they lost 10 pounds in a week I just smile and continue on my journey :) - 5/1/2012   10:29:59 AM
  • 2
    This article is so TRUE! Over the years, I have watched friends lose weight quickly only to gain it back again and more. Before starting with SparkPeople, I lost 20 pounds, slowly, and kept it off, even though I am disabled. I still had 44 pounds to lose, when I found and joined SparkPeople. Wow, SparkPeople is just what I needed! I was already eating healthy foods, but just eating too much of a good thing and I hated writing down everything. With SparkPeople, I can keep track of what I eat very easily and the support from everyone is awesome! I am now on the right path for success! With SparkPeople, even if I have some tough days, I have lost 15 pounds, so far, and feel very positive about losing the rest of my excess weight. Thank you SparkPeople!!! - 5/1/2012   10:19:00 AM
  • 1
    Love this article! I have switched to eating less, but more healthy foods like whole grains, fruits and veggies, and workout at least 6 days a week, and have noticed more weight loss! - 5/1/2012   10:04:42 AM

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