This statistic is absolutely everywhere in the current dialogue on weight, and the study is anything but strong scientific evidence.
However, just because the study isn't suitable for the massive citation it receives, does not mean that "Diets don't fail" or indeed that we have any idea how to lose weight or change bodies on a grand scale.
The many wonderful ladies in the Health At Every Size movement have excellent insight into this.
They point out that while the statistic is based on just one small study, there is absolutely nothing out there to refute it. In decades and decades of research, we have yet to produce ONE large scale "weight loss success" story to refute the claim that diets do not work.
It would be more apt to say that "We have no idea". We have no clue how to lose weight.
But what about the people we know who've lost weight and kept it off? The inspiring stories of people in the National Weight Loss Registry?
Its easy to write them off as a statistical anomaly, as a collection of "freaks of nature". Its even more fun to silence those voices by dismissing them in this way.
If you know me in real life, or from my youtube, you know how irritatingly positive and optimistic I like to be.
As far as I believe? I'm not willing to use the fact that no one has succeeded yet as a way to claim that losing weight & keeping it off is impossible. I'm not even willing to say its improbable. Instead, I believe that we have yet to figure it out. OR that the way to lose weight exists, has been found, and has been discarded.
Why discard it? Duh, what if its completely impossible to turn a profit on it? What if its not something that can be neatly packaged for the masses? What if real weight loss is not only one of the most difficult endeavors, but also so complicated, so specific to each unique individual, that we can't possible make billions off of it?
Who is going to shout about THAT from every billboard? Yeah, nobody.
No, I'm not going to say weight loss is possible for everyone. I'm not inclined to believe anyone will find a way to make it easy, simple, and accessible to all. But I also refuse to say weight loss is impossible; only that we haven't figured it out yet.
From all the stories I've read, the people I've spoken with, and the research I've sifted through, I'm still not convinced its out of reach. I think the way to successful weight loss is likely to be super boring, extremely slow, and impossible to turn into a profit.