Why It’s Difficult To Maintain A Dramatic Weight Loss
Did you recently shed a lot of weight? Congratulations, you’re through half the journey. Why half, you ask? Read on.Whenever we see someone who has a weight problem, most of us immediately think, “Oh! He/she has no control over their food, and really needs to exercise”. While that may be the case, there’s also a scientific and biological explanation possible for the weight problem.
Losing weight is a huge challenge, but what’s even more difficult is keeping those kilos off. You have fad diets doing the rounds, promising instant weight loss – lose 10 kilos in 3 weeks, starve yourself for a month, drink only juices for a week etc. The thing is, you may just lose the weight that’s being advertised. But in 6 months, most likely, the weight you lost will return to haunt you. This kind of yo-yo dieting can be quite harmful, and not to mention, extremely maddening.
Why keeping those kilos off is extremely tough
So when a person goes on a weight-loss diet, he/she is aware that there is a very high chance of the weight returning. Most of us put it down to a lack of discipline and willpower. However, those are not the only reasons why the kilos creep back.
There are a couple of theories out there to help us understand why dramatic weight loss is not sustainable in most cases:
- Metabolic rate – One theory is that when you diet, the reduction in your calorie intake causes your body’s metabolic rate to drop. So what does the body do? The body adapts, and starts functioning on fewer calories. When the body starts burning even fewer calories, it will also start storing more fat. When enough calories are not being burned, you will not be able to maintain the new, lighter you.
- Hormones – When you lose weight, your hormones also go through a change. These hormones work together through a complex system, and either fuel or suppress your appetite. We all have a hormone called leptin, which is made up of fatty cells. It signals your brain and stops you from feeling hungry. Leptin is a hunger-controlling hormone. It also signals your brain that your fat reserves have fallen way below what your body needs. So how does the body react to that signal? When you start losing weight, the hormones get imbalanced, and this sends off messages to different parts of the body to start building those reserves and burning less calories. Fewer calories burnt equals return of the kilos, over a period of time.
- For you to lose weight, 60-90 minutes of vigorous daily exercise is needed. And to maintain the weight loss and prevent weight gain, 60 minutes of exercise a day is recommended.
- Once you have reached your ideal weight, you need to monitor your food intake and stick to eating a low-fat, portion-controlled diet. Slowly add about 200 calories of healthy, low-fat food to your daily intake. This should be done slowly, so that you can make sure that the weight is maintained, rather than continuing to drop or inch up.
- Self-monitoring is extremely important for weight maintenance. You’re more likely to be motivated to stay on top of things if you continue to keep track of your weight. Write it in a journal to monitor your weight pattern.
All this doesn’t mean that maintaining your weight loss is impossible. What you need to do is stick to a regime which includes regular physical exercise, a little change in your lifestyle, and high motivation – these are the key factors for successful weight maintenance.