I do not know any adult who relishes weight gain, unless they are gaining weight as part of a fitness regimen. Even though pregnant women need to gain weight, I’ve never met a pregnant person who truly looked forward to seeing the number on the scale inch up.
Weight regain after weight loss is such a common issue. I rarely do a public speaking event without someone in the audience asking about it or another person privately coming up to me after the event to ask how to stop regaining the weight they worked so hard to lose.
The weight loss process is a very fragile one when you really think about it. We are fighting our bodies desire to overeat by monitoring and regulating the amount and types of foods we eat. We are fighting our emotions that likely played a role in our being overweight in the first place, and we are fighting the societal norms that are making being overweight more and more acceptable.
After all that hard work in conquering our desires and going against the pressures of the “eat it all society,” you would think that regaining our lost weight would be the last thing to happen. Sadly, regaining our lost weight is often exactly what happens.
There are a lot of studies that give statistics on weight regain after weight loss, but the general consensus seems to be that only about 5 percent of people who lose weight keep it off for any length of time.
The Regain Pattern
It often starts subtly, just like our weight gain did. We either see the scale inch up a bit or find our new smaller sizes pants begin to tighten slightly. We stop being careful with small things like dressings on salads, extra servings of food, or how many sweets we consume. We slack off on our exercise a bit. We begin the slide back into old habits.
At first, many of us will try to put the brakes on weight regain by going back to the types of habits that helped us lose weight in the first place, and we are successful. But then we begin the slow slide back into those old habits, which inevitably result in a regain.
A few pounds becomes 10 pounds, and 10 becomes 20. Now you may find yourself struggling with not only making healthy food choices, but feeling defeated emotionally. The cycle continues until many, many of us regain the weight we fought to lose.
Stopping the Regain Before It Gets Out of Control
The key to getting off the slippery slope of weight regain is to nip it in the bud before it gets out of control. There are several ways to do this. If you hate the scale, you will hate number one. Fortunately, there are more ways than standing on the scale to monitor your weight. The key is to do them!
1. Stand on the scale regularly. The National Weight Control Registry members who have maintained their weight loss for over a year tend to weigh very regularly – most of them daily. That daily checking in is your first line of defense on weight regain – especially if you understand your bodies normal fluctuations and don’t let yourself get upset when you are seeing a hormonal weight shift or the results of too much sodium-filled food.
2. Monitor the fit of your clothing. Are you favorite jeans feeling snug in the waist and hips? Is your fitted shirt pulling across the shoulders or popping the buttons? Look at these signs and take action immediately.
3. Take your measurements. I find this motivating when I’m doing strength training regularly because I can often see a decrease in some of my body measurements without movement on the scale. I don’t find it motivating if I have gained a few pounds because I can see the tape measure move in the wrong direction.
What to Do If Your Weight Creeps
1. Acknowledge the problem that day. Don’t wait until Monday or after the next holiday. Admit to yourself that your weight has shifted more than you are comfortable with and write that acknowledgement down.
2. Analyze your eating patterns over the past weeks. Have you just increased your portions too much, have you stopped exercising, or have you been having some extra bites of high calorie foods that are contributing to you adding a few pounds.
3. Go back to the healthy habits that enabled you to lose the weight in the first place. If it worked for you before and you followed a healthy diet, by all means go back to your original eating plan and drop those few pounds.
4. Don’t over-analyze the problem and spend so much time thinking about it that you fail to do anything about it.
Have you ever been on the slippery slope of weight regain? How did you handle it? Diane
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