When you're trying to lose weight, it can feel like your body is holding onto every extra pound for dear life. And there's some truth to that, according to a recent study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology. Like a clingy ex-boyfriend, your body takes a while to forget your former bad habits and adjust to your new ways.
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So just how long will it take? Researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that keeping the weight off for a total of 365 days makes it easier for you to maintain that weight loss and maybe even shed more pounds.
For the study, researchers asked 20 healthy, obese participants to drink weight-loss shakes for two months (a.k.a. our nightmare). After losing an average of 13 percent of their body weight, the individuals entered a yearlong maintenance program, consisting of meetings with a dietitian and food tracking.
Prior to the weight-loss program, researchers recorded participants’ levels of two appetite-suppressing hormones and the hunger hormone ghrelin. After maintaining their weight loss for a full year, researchers found that the subjects' levels of those appetite-squelching hormones increased, and their ghrelin levels dropped. Both of those changes are awesome for weight maintenance—and could even lead to more weight loss, said one of the study authors in a press release.
(For more tips on how to jump-start your weight loss, check out the Women's Health Body Clock Diet.)
It’s important to keep in mind that this study was only conducted with obese individuals. So it's hard to say whether these results would apply to someone looking to drop just 10 or 20 pounds.
Until someone bottles those hanger-fighting hormones (come on, science; it’s 2016), your best bet is to stick to a sustainable diet and exercise program, eat mindfully, and hold yourself accountable. Eventually, your body will let it go.
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