Sometimes it seems that keeping weight off can be even harder than losing it.
Statistics tell us that we might be right: most people who lose weight will gain it all back. Not only that, but in many cases, they can end up heavier than before. SIGH.
No wonder that this can stop us from even trying to lose in the first place.
But I’m going to explain why this happens PLUS give you tips on how to prevent regaining your weight.
Main message: you can lose weight and maintain it if you are aware of the pitfalls.
Here’s why most of the regain occurs:
Usually, it’s not because of a lack of effort or willpower. It’s because after a famine (or a diet) our body is wired to regain lost weight. And there’s an evolutionary reason for this.
Columbia University Magazine explains: “Early humans were subjected to frequent periods of poor access to nutrition. Those who were best at storing fat calories when food was available, and conserving them when it wasn’t, were most likely to survive and reproduce.”
And it appears that our brain and hormones haven’t caught up with modern times. Our system isn’t aware that supermarkets are open late into the evening and a home-delivered pizza is just a tap away on your phone. We are still governed by ancient hormonal responses to famine.
Namely, losing weight actually triggers your hormones to send signals to your brain that fat stores are at a critical level.
This causes a number of events across the body designed to put your weight back on, quick smart.
To begin with, your metabolism slows down and you don’t burn as much fat as before.
Then the part in your brain that experiences pleasure from eating becomes more active. This means you enjoy and crave foods more than before.
And if this wasn’t enough, your hunger hormones increase. 🙄
What to do?
Research explains that after weight loss, exercise becomes more important than before. Although there is variability between individuals, those who exercised regularly kept their weight off easier.
Let’s say you lost excess weight and ended up at 130 pounds. You’ll need to eat fewer calories to maintain this than someone weighing exactly the same but has never had to diet.
Therefore, keep eating low caloric density foods and use protein to prevent hunger. And don’t forget to get a good night’s rest, or otherwise, you’ll experience carb cravings.
So in short, when you reach your goal weight, a permanent lifestyle change has to occur. This includes exercising regularly and sticking to a healthy eating plan with an eye on portion control.
Follow those above tips and I know you’ll win the battle of weight maintenance.