People can lose weight, but end up gaining it back. In one study, it was shown that only around 20 percent of people who diet have successfully lost weight and maintain it for a longer period (1). But you should not take this as a problem because there are several ways on how you can keep the weight off, from controlling stress to exercising. In this article, we will discuss why people lose weight and gain it all back as well as the ways on how to keep the weight off.
Why People Regain Weight?
You have a sedentary lifestyle
One of the greatest factors of weight gain and various diseases is inactivity (2). Watching TV, working a desk job, using a computer, and driving are sedentary activities. Well, a study has shown that the average daily sitting time of people who are overweight and obese is 6.3 hours during workdays and 6 hours during non-working days (3).
You can make a big difference by simply making lifestyle changes such as sitting less and exercising. Another study has shown that replacing sitting with standing can reduce waist circumference and total fat mass and increase lean muscle mass (4).
One of the reasons for unintentional weight gain is excessive screen time (5). To counterweight gain, you can take a walk after dinner, work out during lunch break, ride your bike going to work or invest in a treadmill desk.
You have a medical issue
Lifestyle is the greatest contributor to unintentional weight gain. But if you are suffering from a certain medical condition, this may also be a cause of weight gain such as:
- Hypothyroidism. A study has shown that thyroid function, weight control, and obesity are linked (6). This condition affecting your thyroid gland can cause weight gain. And even if you are striving to lose weight, it will be difficult for you to attain it because of such conditions (7).
- Depression. This is a very common mental illness that is said to contribute to weight gain and obesity (8).
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It is a hormonal imbalance that affects the reproductive organ of a woman. It is said to cause weight gain, and it will be hard for you to lose weight even if you should strive to do so (9).
- Binge eating disorder (BED). If you overeat a lot, you may be suffering from this kind of disorder. And this is said to result in various health complications, such as obesity (10).
- Other conditions, such as Cushing’s syndrome and diabetes, are also linked with weight gain that is why it is crucial to seek help from your healthcare provider so that you will be properly diagnosed. Certain medications, such as antipsychotic drugs and antidepressants, are also seen to contribute to weight gain.
You don’t have enough sleep
You already know how sleep is very crucial for your health. If you lack sleep, it will not only contribute to various health conditions, but it will also trigger weight gain (11). A study has shown that those people who sleep less than 6 hours a day manifest higher body mass index (BMI) compared to those who sleep more than 6 hours a day (12).
Another study has shown that people who have excess weight and follow a low-calorie diet lose around 55 percent body fat if attained 5.5 hours of sleep every night, while 60 percent more is lost if attained 8.5 hours every night (13).
If you increase your sleep time, you will most likely attain weight loss. Several studies show that people who sleep 7 hours or more have a 33 percent probability of losing weight compared to those who did not reach 7 hours of sleep (14).
You don’t have enough whole foods
If you eat a lot of processed foods, you will most likely gain weight. Switching your diet in higher whole foods can promote weight loss as well as other aspects of your entire well-being. One study has shown that the quality of diet is a crucial factor in losing weight (15).
One of the reasons for weight gain is chronic stress (16). If your stress hormone cortisol is high, your hunger and desire for calorie-dense foods will increase, thereby resulting in weight gain (17).
Obese people are said to have high levels of cortisol. But if stress is managed, it can promote weight loss (18). In one study, those who perform relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, experience more weight loss (19).
Here are the ways on how you can maintain your weight
Exercise more often
Engaging in physical activities is one of the best ways for you to maintain weight. This will help you burn some calories, as well as increase your metabolism. These factors are needed for you to obtain a balance of energy (20).
If your energy is balanced, the number of calories you consume will also be burned. And this will maintain your weight. A study has shown that people who engage in more than 200 minutes of physical activities every week can lose weight and maintain it (21).
Higher levels of exercise can be vital to maintain your weight. A study has shown that engaging in an hour of exercise every day can help maintain weight. It is noteworthy that the most important means to maintain weight is to exercise, together with a healthy lifestyle, such as having a healthy diet (22).
Eat breakfast every day
Eating breakfast can aid in weight loss. It was shown that those who eat breakfast have better habits, such as consuming micronutrients and fiber and exercising more (23).
Furthermore, one of the most common behaviors of a person who is successful in weight loss goal is eating breakfast. In one study, 78 percent of the participants maintained weight loss because they eat breakfast every day (24).
But it is noteworthy that skipping breakfast does not automatically lead to an increase in weight (25). Other studies show that skipping breakfast can also help in losing weight as well as maintaining weight goals (26).
Eat plenty of protein
Including plenty of protein in your diet can help you maintain your weight. This is because protein helps in promoting fullness and reducing your appetite (27). Protein is said to increase the hormones in your body responsible for inducing satiety, essential to regulate your weight. It was also shown to decrease hormone levels that trigger hunger (28).
Protein can affect your fullness and hormones that can decrease your calorie consumption every day. And this can help you maintain your weight (29). Moreover, your body needs a sufficient amount of energy to foster protein and your body to break down. That is why the consumption of protein regularly can accelerate the calories you burn every day (30).
Several studies have shown that protein can affect your appetite and metabolism. But this is true if around 30 percent of the calories you consume are from protein. This means that a 2,000 calorie diet should consist of 150 grams of protein (31).
Weigh yourself regularly
If you monitor your weight regularly, you will most likely maintain your weight. This is a useful tool for weight maintenance. This will increase your awareness of the progress of your weight, as well as encourage you to control your weight (32).
Weighing yourself regularly can help you eat fewer calories, and this can help you maintain your weight. In a study, people who weigh themselves regularly consume fewer calories throughout the day (33). It is your preference for how often you will weigh yourself. Some people find weighing on a regular basis helpful, while others prefer to weigh once or twice every week.
Be mindful of your carbs
It will be easier for you to maintain weight if you are aware of the amounts and types of carbs that you consume. The consumption of too many refined carbs, such as fruit juices, white pasta, and white bread, can be dangerous for your weight goals.
These foods are deprived of their natural fiber, which is crucial for you to become full. Several studies have shown that low-fiber diets lead to weight gain and, eventually, obesity (34).
If you limit your carb intake, you can maintain your weight loss. In fact, several studies have shown that a low-carb diet can help in keeping your weight off (35). Furthermore, those people who have a low-carbs diet will be less likely to consume calories, and this is crucial for them to maintain weight (36).
If you engage in resistance training, such as weight lifting, you can prevent losing muscles, which helps in preserving and improving your metabolic rate. Studies have revealed that weight lifting after you lose weight can keep off the weight since it helps maintain muscle mass (39). If you want to reap off these benefits, you can engage in strength training more than twice a week.
Prepare for setbacks
It is inevitable for you to have setbacks. There will come a time when you will be tempted to skip your work out or give in to an unhealthy craving. But, this does not mean that you should stop pursuing your goals. You just need to move on and find better options.
Stick to your plans
One of the habits that can make you regain weight is cheating on weekends and eating healthy on weekdays. This habit leads to binge eating, especially unhealthy foods, which will most likely be detrimental to your weight maintenance efforts.
If you practice this habit oftentimes, chances are you will gain weight more than you lost (39). Furthermore, studies have shown that those people who have a consistent eating pattern in the entire week can maintain weight loss in longer periods (40).
Water is very crucial for your health, especially if you want to maintain your weight. For neophytes, it helps in promoting fullness. It can also aid in keeping your calorie consumption, especially if you drink more than one glass before meals (41).
In a study, it was shown that those who drink water before meals are most likely to reduce calorie intake by 13 percent. Furthermore, those who drink water experience a slight increase in the calories burned (42).
Get enough sleep
Having a night of better sleep can help you maintain your weight. In fact, if you are deprived of sleep, you will most likely be at risk of gaining weight, and it will be a hindrance to your weight maintenance (43).
Inadequate sleep is said to increase the levels of ghrelin in your body. This hormone can promote hunger, thereby increasing your appetite (44). Furthermore, those people who lack sleep are found to have low levels of leptin. This hormone is crucial to control your appetite.
People who sleep for short periods can be tired, and this is the reason why they are less likely to be motivated to engage in physical activities and make healthy food decisions. If you lack sleep, try to change your habits. Having more than 7 hours of sleep every night can help you control your weight and improve your entire well-being (45).
Sometimes, diets seemed to be unrealistic and restricted. That is the reason why people who lose weight regain the weight. But then, there are many ways on how you can maintain your weight. You need to make a few changes in your lifestyle, such as that which are easy to follow and will really make you maintain weight for a long period.
Throughout your journey, you will understand that weight maintenance is not about what you eat. You also need other aspects, such as engaging in physical activities, having a better night of sleep, and maintaining your mental health. Your weight maintenance will be easy if you make lifestyle changes, instead of losing weight and gaining it all over again.