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  #1  
Unread 06-05-2014, 02:04 AM
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yksin yksin is offline
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Default "Obesity research confirms long-term weight loss almost impossible"

More irresponsible journalism.

Obesity research confirms long-term weight loss almost impossible: No known cure for obesity except surgically shrinking the stomach by Kelly Crowe, CBC News (Jun 04, 2014)

Besides ranting about this on my Facebook wall — e.g.,

Quote:
My objection to the article is its use of words like "almost impossible" — which gives the message of "just forget it, don't even try, just give up." That's a very different message than "permanent weight loss is difficult, but possible, requiring applying the right knowledge" (which frankly a lot of nutritionists and medical doctors don't have) "and applying it with discipline and mindfulness through the rest of your life."
— I've also been directing people here & to research results from the National Weight Control Registry.

— Mel
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Restart 17 Mar 2014: start 198.2 (89.9 kg) > current 180.8 (82.0 kg) (post-diet break) > goal 140 (63.6 kg)

Last edited by yksin : 06-05-2014 at 02:07 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 06-05-2014, 04:56 AM
BigPecsPeter BigPecsPeter is offline
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I don't think this sort of article is anything new. This has been known and written about for years.

I think the unfortunate thing is that it's true. Even here on this website, where people are the most clued up and well-educated on these matters, it is a cruel cruel fact that a large number of folk, who manged to lose loads of weight, eventually ended up putting it back on. If the most determined and diligent of us even struggle with long term weight management, what does it mean for the general population?

Long term maintenance is a massive concern. The higher set point stuff, all true. Before I ever started training, I once got overweight through a deeply irresponsible lifestyle. I needed to lose around 13-15kg, so nothing EXTREMELY dramatic, and I did it ignorantly with a very low calorie approach over about 8 weeks.

From that point onwards I have weighed myself, obsessively, almost every single day. It became habit. For many many years now. And I know, dammit, that such meticulous ongoing measurement was the only thing that prevented me from putting it all back on. Because I could keep seeing precisely what was happening. Moreover, it's probably the only thing that stops me getting fat now, particularly over periods of lower than normal activity.

I'll say that, aside from this one girl I know, I don't truly know anybody else on earth who has lost weight and not regained it some time after. The one exception I mention suffers from severe weight paranoia so is constantly eating less than her inclination in order to stave off any weight gain. If she wasn't so obsessive, I believe she'd easily overeat herself to the point of obesity in a matter of 3 months.

I don't even know why I've written this over-sized post. Maybe because I know so many people afflicted with these problems, a few even in my own family, and I get so frustrated that what SHOULD be a task so easy ends up becoming the hardest thing on earth. Because people are just not willing to exert such meticulous dietary control. Our bodies seem literally to tear us away from it. Even extreme body image problems (and the potential for dramatic improvement) do not suffice as motivators to make serious lifestyle changes. The pull towards the bad habits appears to be just too strong.
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  #3  
Unread 06-05-2014, 07:15 AM
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The 5% value is incorrect, based on two very early studies looking at the hardest cases.
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  #4  
Unread 06-05-2014, 08:07 AM
jimjack jimjack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lylemcd View Post
The 5% value is incorrect, based on two very early studies looking at the hardest cases.
Is there any more current research that suggests a bigger percentage?
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  #5  
Unread 06-05-2014, 08:19 AM
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There is an inherent difficulty in assessing this because

a. most people don't lose weight through commercial programs or in studies
b. the people who do lose weight through commercial programs or who enter studies likely represent the people who have failed and are harder cases

Which tends to skew the results downward in terms of perceived success. The original studies that the 5% number comes from were in the 50's and likely represented the hardest of the hard cases. There is also the fact that most studies look at one attempt and behavior change often takes multiple attempts and failures before any measure of success occurs.

Make no mistake, I'm still not suggesting a majority of people succeed (and some of it will come down to how you define success) but the 5% is clearly an absurdly low value. I bet every one of us on here can come up with more than 5% of people that we know who have succeeded to one degree or another.

Beyond that, I'm not finding any concrete numbers.
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  #6  
Unread 06-05-2014, 08:36 AM
BigPecsPeter BigPecsPeter is offline
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I suppose then there's the somewhat humorous response that even apparently successful cases may not be so, since the possibility of eventual failure remains. Just where do you draw the line on "long-term"?

Also, where do you draw the line on "success"?

Maybe, on that note, talking about "long-term success" is a bit meaningless and the important point is that it IS at least possible to lose weight short-term.
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Unread 06-05-2014, 08:43 AM
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This is about individuals failing to alter their behavior. You can't say it is impossible at all. If 5% can do it, it's possible. The 95% would be failures.
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  #8  
Unread 06-05-2014, 08:51 AM
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lylemcd lylemcd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigPecsPeter View Post
I suppose then there's the somewhat humorous response that even apparently successful cases may not be so, since the possibility of eventual failure remains. Just where do you draw the line on "long-term"?

Also, where do you draw the line on "success"?

Maybe, on that note, talking about "long-term success" is a bit meaningless and the important point is that it IS at least possible to lose weight short-term.
Everybody loses weight in the short-term. A majority fail to maintain that weight loss.

NWCR defines their terms here
"How to Join
Recruitment for the Registry is ongoing. If you are at least 18 years of age and have maintained at least a 30 pound weight loss for one year or longer you may be eligible to join our research study. " A lot of studies do folloupws a year later.

5 years is often a long-term time frame.

At some point, it should be reasonably clear that the habits that generated the weight loss are stable and being maintained.

But playing semantic games to either massage the data in a better direction (define a shorter time frame to make it look like success was better) or to make it seem impossible "since we don't have data on FOREVEr, we cant make conclusions" is silly. That's why you define your terms up front.
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  #9  
Unread 06-05-2014, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squat View Post
This is about individuals failing to alter their behavior. You can't say it is impossible at all. If 5% can do it, it's possible. The 95% would be failures.
You're playing semantics. Clearly the current media frenzy is not saying that it's absolutely impossible. IF even 1 person does something it's clearly possible. But if they are the only one to ever do it, that certainly makes it 'effectively impossible' for everyone else.

For example, it's clearly possible to run a sub 9.6 100m. Usain Bolt did it. It's possible.

99.9999999999999999% of humanity has failed to accomplish this feat.

Yes, I'm using an extreme example to make a point.
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  #10  
Unread 06-05-2014, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lylemcd View Post
You're playing semantics. Clearly the current media frenzy is not saying that it's absolutely impossible. IF even 1 person does something it's clearly possible. But if they are the only one to ever do it, that certainly makes it 'effectively impossible' for everyone else.

For example, it's clearly possible to run a sub 9.6 100m. Usain Bolt did it. It's possible.

99.9999999999999999% of humanity has failed to accomplish this feat.

Yes, I'm using an extreme example to make a point.
Yeah, isn't it a problem when obese people think long-term weight loss is impossible? I think that's the problem here, anyway. It's a struggle, and people give up. Use of the word impossible in this context is at least irresponsible.
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