SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – For many people, their biggest resolution leading into 2023 was to get smaller. It’s one of the most common resolutions to have and at the same it can be difficult to see through. There’s plenty of ways to lose weight, and yearly diet fads may have convinced you that everything should be about shedding the pounds.

But is that weight loss sustainable?

The answer, according to research conducted by the Medical clinics of North America, is that the average person who loses a significant amount of weight is ultimately unable to sustain that weight loss.

What does this mean?

While it may be discouraging to read, this research shows that it’s not losing the weight that is the most challenging. Instead, it is keeping weight off that oftentimes proves to be more difficult.

This research analyzed 29 long-term weight loss studies. It found that more than half of the weight lost by participants was regained within two years. By five years, 80% of the weight lost had been regained by participants.

Another research article from 2005 found that only about 20% of people who attempted to lose significant amounts of weight were able to maintain that loss for at least a year.

Why is it so hard to maintain weight loss?

There are several factors that play into weight loss maintenance (or lack thereof). The research article linked above found that there were a couple of main factors that influenced if a person was going to be able to maintain their weight loss: environment and physiological responses to weight loss.

Another article that was published in 2018 found that there was evidence that behavioral and cognitive determinants that promoted reducing the amount of energy you consumed and increasing the amount of energy that you expended (diet and exercise) as well as monitoring the balance between the two were what determined if you were able to actually keep off the weight you’ve lost.

So, people who did not continue to monitor the energy you’re using and adjust your intake of energy (what you eat) accordingly, you might fall right back into the habits that caused you to gain weight in the first place.

What is your best bet on being able to sustain weight loss?

While you might want to hear it, losing a significant amount of weight that you hope to keep off will require you to change more than just your diet. It will require a complete change in lifestyle to be able to maintain.

Furthermore, it may require that you consult your doctor to see what the best plan is for you. After all, you don’t want to end up “yo-yo dieting,” which can cause many adverse health effects.