Research: Resistance training and protein supplementation​ may prevent weight regain.

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Weight lifting and protein appears to promote less fat regain after weight loss

Lifting Weights
Lifting Weights

Many Americans are looking for the silver bullet on how to prevent weight loss. They start with a healthy diet, add exercise, and now they have lost weight. Many of us have found that altering our diet in the kitchen promotes a healthier weight, but once we go off the diet, we regain all the weight we lost and then some.

So what is the key to maintaining weight loss? The answer is probably different in each person. The good news is that a new study looked at this very question. The new study was done at Quincy College in Massachusetts and published in 2018​[1]​. Researchers in this study looked at the effectiveness of weight reduction and weight maintenance and studies in order to determine what was best in preventing weight regain.

In the study, subjects who complete a six month weight loss study were invited to continue in a weight maintenance program. The weight loss study examined the difference between exercise twice a week and a controlled diet with two meal replacement protein shakes and their effect on body composition over time. In the preliminary study, dieters were able to lose weight. In the weight maintenance study, participants discontinued the caloric restriction and reduced the protein shakes from 2 to 1, but continued with the same strength and aerobic exercise program.

After six months on the weight maintenance programs, participants improved in percentage fat, fat mass, lean mass, waste girth and hip girth. Although there was no change in total body weight, clearly the participants had not gained back fat mass.

The bottom line: the findings of this study indicate that a post diet weight maintenance program that includes both resistance training and protein supplementation appears to be effective at avoiding weight regain, but in particular it is effective at reducing fat regain. more studies are needed, but this study is encouraging. I would recommend that you add resistance training to your post weight loss regime.

Background: Research indicates that weight loss programs are effective for reducing body weight temporarily, but weight maintenance studies have been almost uniformly unsuccessful in preventing weight regain.

Methods: Subjects who completed a 6-month weight loss study were invited to continue with a weight maintenance program. The weight loss study examined the effects of exercise (20 min strength, 20 min aerobics, twice weekly) and nutrition (1,200 to 1,800 kcal·d−1, 2 daily meal replacement protein shakes) on body weight and body composition. Weight loss program completers experienced improvements (P < 0.05) in body weight, percent fat, fat mass, lean mass, waist girth, and hip girth. Subjects who participated in the weight maintenance program performed the same strength and aerobic exercise protocol, but discontinued caloric restriction and decreased daily meal replacement protein shakes from 2 to 1.

Results: After 6 months on the weight maintenance program, participants experienced improvement (P < 0.05) in percent fat, fat mass, lean mass, waist girth, and hip girth, with no significant change in body weight. A subgroup of subjects who continued the weight maintenance program for an additional 3 months experienced additional improvement (P < 0.05) in percent fat, fat mass, lean mass, waist girth, and hip girth, with no significant change in body weight.

Conclusion: These findings indicated that a postdiet weight maintenance program incorporating 2 weekly resistance and aerobic exercise sessions coupled with a daily meal replacement protein shake was effective for avoiding weight regain and for improving body composition, with concurrent fat mass decrease and lean mass increase.

Reference:

  1. [1]
    W. Westcott, A. Colligan, K. Lannutti, R. La Rosa Loud, and S. Vallier, “Effects of Resistance Exercise and Protein on Body Composition Following Weight Loss,” Journal of Clinical Exercise Physiology, pp. 25–32, Jun. 2018 [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.31189/2165-6193-7.2.25
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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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