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Study Shows What's Really Causing the Weight to Come Back (Hint: It's Not Cheese)
This is due to many factors, most notably our tendency to fall back into some old habits like Belgian Waffle Sundays. But dieting, especially on-again-off-again, can have lingering effects on our appetites. We can vow that once we go off the diet, we'll only eat when we're hungry, and we'll stop as soon as we're full. But in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a group of Australian researchers measured the levels of hormones (including leptin and ghrelin) that are associated with hunger. They found that diet-induced weight loss not only altered hormone levels, but caused them to remain "perturbed" (i.e., at levels that made the subjects hungrier) for a full year. In other words, in the months after a diet, you can't trust yourself to know when you're hungry or full.
At first read, this makes weight loss seem like even more of a Sisyphean challenge. But it really just reinforces what we've heard a million times before: the only diet that works is one that we can sustain indefinitely. Viewed in that light, this new research can actually help us get smarter about how we try to get healthier.
Here are some long-term strategies for keeping the weight off:
Resisting donuts, fast food, and eating late at night
Becoming aware of mindless munching
How to stop binge eating
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.