March is Maintenance Awareness Month here at Maintenance University and we’re going back to the basics.
Last week we defined Weight Loss Maintenance answering the question, What is Maintenance?
This week we look at a Why . . . why is weight regain so common after dieting?
The problem of weight regain is twofold: mental and physical.
The way we think about weight loss is the main problem with weight regain.
“Diets” are usually an eating plan that’s dramatically different than how we normally eat. No carbs or no processed sugar. Keto, Whole30, even the prepared meal programs.
All these can result in weight loss. When you eat less you lose weight.
We might be able to keep it up for weeks and if we’re motivated by the weight loss, then maybe even longer. But once we reach our goal we celebrate then all too often go right back to our “normal” eating.
The “normal” eating was what got us to a weight we were unhappy with in the first place and it will do the same again.
Any diet you have to go ON means at some point you will go OFF.
There’s nothing in between.
Maintenance is nowhere to be found.
We have to have a more holistic view of the weight loss process, one that includes a long-range plan for maintaining the weight you prefer.
There are two ways to do this:
The physical part of weight loss regain is straightforward and not nearly as impactful as how we think about weight loss.
Here it is:
With weight loss comes a change in metabolism. This is a totally normal and expected part of the process.
As you lose weight, you have less body mass to sustain and your body burns fewer calories as a result.
You did not jack up your metabolism by eating fewer calories. Your body is just efficient, as it’s always been.
A 150-pound person burns fewer calories than a 250-pound person. Period.
You’ll always need to eat fewer calories as a thin person than when you weigh more. If you go back to eating the way you used to before weight loss, you’ll gain back pounds because you’re taking in more calories than your new body needs.
Excess calories always turn into fat.
Weight regain is preventable with a little planning and expectation management, saving a whole lotta heartache the next time you decide to lose weight.