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13 Reasons Weight Comes Back and Laziness isn't one of them

You lost weight and felt great.  Your cloths fit well, and you had more energy. 


Then, things stopped feeling great. Your cloths started feeling snug again. You stepped on the scale for the first time in a while.  The weight was back.


No one tells you how to keep the weight off.  But I will.  Here are 13 reasons weight comes back:


Fast weight loss:  What a feeling to watch the scale go down in a matter of weeks.  What aggravation to watch it move back the other way.


Rapid weight loss makes your body think food is scarce.  It slows your metabolism to protect you from starving.  When you go back to normal eating your body stays in survival mode bringing your weight back up.   


After some disappointments I learned 1-2 lbs. of weight loss per week allows my metabolism time to adapt.  I’m able to maintain my weight more easily.  Sometimes I hate when the science is right…


Wrong exercises:  Liking exercises is paramount to maintaining weight.  If you hate running, like me, you’re not going to do it.


Find out what doesn’t feel like a chore.  Try walking, swimming, biking, or dancing.  Of course, if running is your thing, I won’t to judge you.


Sedentary jobs:  Many of us spend our day sitting or standing still causing muscle loss.  Paige Waehner, CTP, at Verywell Fit points out, having stronger muscles helps your body burn calories. 


Muscles burn available calories.  Once those calories are used up your body breaks down fat to release more calories to burn.


As a massage therapist, I stood around a table.  I added walks in at lunch and after work.  I also did leg exercises between clients like calf raises, squats and lunges. 


Stuck at a desk?   Google  “exercises to do at your desk” .  You’ll find 12 workout articles on the first page alone. 


Stopped too soon:  Tracking inches, pounds, foods, and exercise are tactics still needed to maintain weight.


Johns Hopkins advises having enough activity to burn 1500 to 2000 calories a week.  Doing moderate exercise 3-4 times a week helps.


To get exercise into the moderate range use the “Talk Test”.  If you can carry a conversation during the exercise and only feel a little winded, you are in range. 


Johns Hopkins has a food recommendation too.  Once at your weight goal, add 200 calories to your diet for a week.  If weight loss continues, add 200 more calories the next week. 


Do this until you stop losing weight.  Reduce calories if you begin gaining.  It takes some practice to maintain calorie and exercise balance.  I continue to improve at it and so will you.


All or nothing:  No matter your plan, life has one of its own. 


I have had to unexpectedly attend dinner events.  The food options weren’t optimal, and I had to wing it. Once this would be an excuse to throw in the towel. 


I learned to be kind to myself and employ the phrase, “so what”.   Yesterday wasn’t perfect.   So what.  Every day is a do-over, start again.


No plan for eating out:  I bet you enjoy a meal out, until you start stressing about what you can eat.


Thanks to the internet, I don’t stress about it anymore.  Restaurants have their menus online.  Check them out and make a few choices ahead of time. 


You’ll get to the restaurant and already know what you’re ordering.  Sit back and enjoy the company.


Processed foods:  I’m talking about highly or ultra-processed foods.   They are defined by being changed from their natural state, as well as adding sugar, oil, salt, artificial colors/ flavors, and/or preservatives.


A study compared an ultra-processed diet to an unprocessed diet over 28 days.  Each participant ate a highly processed diet for 14 days followed by an unprocessed diet for 14 days.


Every participant gained weight in the first 14 days, then lost the same weight in the last 14.  Enough said…


Rushing your meal:  It takes 30 minutes for the stomach and brain recognize that you’ve eaten.   That’s why I don’t wait to feel full. 


I check if my stomach is growling, a sure sign of hunger.  If your stomach isn’t, it’s satisfied.  You can have a snack later if the beast reawakens.


Serving size creep:  Paying attention to serving size and adding total calories in meals kept you on track during weight loss.  After losing the weight portions slowly start creeping up.


I love this phrase from Deepak Chopra’s “The Way of the Wizard”.  “The whole banquet is in the first spoonful”.  It means the first taste of a meal has the most flavor. 


This idea made it easier to stick with serving sizes.  As my dad used to say, you can always go back for seconds, if you’re still hungry.


Not appreciating status quo:  Don’t be distracted by the compliments you’re not receiving.  Every day you maintain your weight is a big deal.


Here are some markers you can be proud of:  lower blood pressure, higher energy, a1c in normal range, cloths fitting.  Celebrate the status quo.  You’ve worked hard to maintain it.


Not catching triggers:  Triggers are the unconscious cues you have that make you eat without being hungry.


I know it’s frustrating having triggers resurface.  It’s a continual process of identifying what set it in motion this time.  The better you become at doing this, the less frequently that trigger will show up. 


Not having a “why”:  It’s easy to name three basic reasons to lose weight.  But do you have a deep, motivating reason, or “why” to keep the weight off? 


You may want to keep up with your kids or grandkids.  It might also be wanting to live a long life, or reducing the medications you take.  If you go off the rails your “why” is there to get you back on track.


Lack of support:  It’s amazing how many people support you on a weight loss journey.  Then you hit the goal, and everyone disappears.  Losing weight is only half the journey.  Your body takes a minimum of 1 year to adapt to weight changes.


Whether you worked with a health professional, a commercial program, or the accountability of friends, keep that support.  It makes the continuing journey easier.


The Continuing Journey


Maintaining weight is not a one-and-done.  Your body and brain need time to adapt.  Continue tracking food, activity, and weight.  Stay tuned to your body’s cues like being hungry and catching triggers. 


Be kind to yourself.  Every day isn’t perfect, so what.  Tomorrow is a new day.


Hold onto the support system that got you to your weight loss goal.  They will help you over rough spots of maintaining weight too. 


With a better understanding of the challenges, you will have greater success moving forward.



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