What is your Diaet success story

Tanja Legenbauer is Professor of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at the LWL University Hospital Hamm for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Ruhr University in Bochum. One focus of her research is the treatment of obesity. As an employee of the University Clinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy at Bochum University, she led, in cooperation with Stephan Herpertz, the "Essen-Bochum Obesity Treatment Study" (EBOTS) funded by the Federal Ministry of Research, which records the weight loss success of seriously overweight people.

SZ: How many people manage to lose weight permanently?

Tanja Legenbauer: In our study, after a one-year weight loss program, two thirds of the test participants lost significant weight: an average of 21 kilograms. But after three years, only 28 percent of them were significantly less weight than before. This result also coincides with other studies, according to which only 20 to 30 percent of the test subjects manage to permanently lose at least five percent of their body weight.

What determines the success of a diet?

People who have realistic expectations and are able to control their own behavior are successful in losing weight. People with low self-control, on the other hand, have a harder time. It also has a negative effect if someone has already tried many diets. Studies have shown that the more unsuccessful diets the person concerned has, the worse the chances of success.

Why is that?

Probably two reasons are responsible: Those who have already been unsuccessful several times lack confidence in themselves. This lowers motivation. On the other hand, frequent diets seem to disrupt the regulation of hunger and satiety and have an unfavorable effect on the metabolism. The famous yo-yo effect then takes effect particularly quickly. One thing is certain: the "lose five kilos in five days" diets do not work. The faster someone loses weight, the faster they will have the weight back on.

How long should you realistically plan for losing weight?

Classic weight loss programs with a so-called multimodal approach take into account the three components of nutrition, exercise and behavioral change. They last a year. Then the critical phase begins. In our study, the end of the weight loss program was when most began to gain weight again. After three to five years - as also shown by internationally comparable studies - the majority of buyers have returned to their original weight. However, anyone who has survived this period without significant weight gain can be confident. Then the new eating habits are second nature to him and the chance that he will hold the weight forever is good.