Why it’s so hard to keep those pounds off

Tara Parker-Pope, an editor at The New York Times, provides some bad news about why we lose weight and then gain it back again.

In an article in the Dallas Morning News, January 8, 2012, Parker-Pope reports that researchers are finding that, long after people had lost weight, their bodies “were acting as if they were starving and were working overtime to regain the pounds they had lost.”

The research is depressing. But Parker-Pope concludes: “This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to lose weight and keep it off; it just means it’s really, really difficult.”

If you understand the challenges of keeping weight off, you can  “approach weight loss more realistically and more compassionately,” she concludes.

It’s not going to be easy. We don’t expect to lose 10 pounds in 10 days. But we’re going to lose a little weight and keep it off. We’re resolute!

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2 Responses to “Why it’s so hard to keep those pounds off”

  1. Mary H. February 8, 2012 at 9:37 pm #


    I can see how this could work biologically — if you body and cells had “gotten use to” being a certain weight.

    I think this is a great reason why people shouldn’t use fad diets or short term weight loss strategies. If the body really interprets weight loss this way, then long term behavioral changes in eating and exercise patterns are what people will need to loose pounds and keep those pounds off.



    • Joy February 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

      Thanks for your comments, Mary. You are right. Lose-10-pounds-in-10-days diets don’t work. Losing weight and keeping it off can be done, but it takes a long-term effort and lots of fruits and vegetables.