For the average person, weight loss seems to happen in two very distinct phases: One of them involves losing weight and the other involves gaining it back. If you feel this way, you aren’t alone, especially when research shows that about 80-95% of people who lose weight gain it back.
Why does the weight come back, despite your efforts to keep it off? Well, maintaining weight loss is harder than losing the weight. Your age, gender, hormones, and genetics can all influence your ability to keep the weight off. There are behaviors you can control, including food choices, how often you exercise, and how frequently you move throughout the day. Nevertheless, if the weight starts to come back, it’s easy to feel discouraged and lose the motivation to keep it off.
What Is Your Weight Set Point?
The weight set point is the weight the body is programmed to be. Hormones, behavior, environment, and genetics determine your weight set point. Metabolism burns energy at the rate that will maintain your weight set point, even if that point is heavier than what you should be.
It’s common to turn to “quick fix” dieting, which tends to last a short amount of time but yield fast results. More often than not, these diets restrict caloric intake and weight falls off as a result. At some point, though, the body adjusts and needs fewer calories, more exercise, and other things to either continue losing weight, or maintain weight loss. In order to maintain weight loss, it’s important to understand why you gain it back. Continue reading to learn about the surprising reasons that weight comes back.
Ignoring Your Set Point
In many cases, your weight set point may be higher than you actually want it to be. Even if you reach your weight loss goal, the body doesn’t automatically think that your new weight is its natural baseline. Because of that, the body tries to return to its comfortable weight, even if that’s not the number you want to be at. The farther you move from your set point, the more your hormones influence hunger and fullness levels to bring you back to your set point. You don’t have to accept your set point, but you can work to choose a weight that your body can realistically maintain.
Diet plays a large role in losing weight and maintaining recent weight loss. If you want to keep the weight off, you have to increase overall activity levels. Many people neglect the exercise component of weight loss, which is a common reason that weight starts to creep back up. In order to avoid gaining the weight back, you have to increase both the intensity and time of activity. You don’t have to go from 0 to 100, but you do need to increase the amount of calories you burn while monitoring the calories you consume.
Picking An Unsustainable Diet
This is one of the most common reasons that people gain weight back. Many dietitians agree that an overly restrictive meal plan is impossible to maintain over a long period of time, so people start to cheat or change up the regimen that led to weight loss. It’s safe to cut 500 calories per day for sustainable weight loss, according to the experts. Any diet that is too restrictive will often result in abandonment and weight gain. Cutting carbs tends to result in a carb overeating session, primarily because you miss and crave them. Pick a sustainable diet if you plan to lose weight and keep it off.
Living A Sedentary Lifestyle
This ties back to the need to increase physical activity if you want to avoid gaining weight back. Too many people are sedentary, enjoying entire evenings on the couch after sitting at work all day. Sitting can slow your metabolism, and it’s what most people do all day. According to many reports, people who lose weight and successfully keep it off watch less TV and increase activity throughout the day. And that’s on top of regular workouts!
This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to dieting. Now, intermittent fasting is quite popular and an effective dieting technique for some people, but skipping meals is entirely different. The reason many people skip meals is to cut calories. While it may be a part of your weight loss plan, skipping meals may also be the reason you gain weight back. When you regularly skip meals, it’s common to overeat during your next meal, especially on foods that are higher in fats and sugars.