Losing weight is not that difficult. Keeping it off is another story. If you’ve ever wondered why weight loss is so hard to maintain (of course you have) the guest post by David Macklin, MD, via Dr. Sharma’s blog Obesity Notes explains why. I’ve summarized the points below.
This is the most important and primary reason for weight regain. It is an evolutionary safety measure on the part of your brain to protect you against death. It works by increasing appetite and decreasing metabolic rate.
All the other reasons make the biology more complicated.
The risk of weight regain is greater the more diet-like the weight loss method. i.e.: if the calorie intake is unsustainable, the level and type of effort is unsustainable, or the acceptance and commitment to a normal life that includes fun, food and drink is not included.
3. A change in your environment and external cues
If the environment/cues experienced during weight loss change, weight regain will follow. A sustained change, like: a new work environment, a new roommate or social life are likely to trigger the subconscious motivation to eat.
4. Discontinuation or poor compliance with anti-obesity medications
Anti-obesity medications defend against your biology in terms of appetite and intake. If they are discontinued, or not adhered to, weight regain occurs.
Read more about obesity medications at Obesity Canada.*
5. Self-critical thinking that follows setbacks
This is the most under-estimated non-biological complication of weight loss. If you respond to setbacks like a weekend of over consumption or a small weight gain with self-criticism you’re likely headed for weight regain.
6. Weight-promoting medication(s)
Many common medications can have a side effect of weight gain. Weight regain may be caused by the addition of a weight-promoting medication.
This refers to internal states like: stress, fatigue, depressed mood and lower levels of activity that may promote weight regain. Each of these can increase motivation to eat and decrease restraint.
Obviously, there is nothing any weight and wellness coach can do about your biology, the side effects of medications or the new roommate.
But I can certainly help you with options to strict dieting, self-criticism and modulators like stress. Knowing deep in your bones why you want to lose weight and maintain it, learning to self-regulate your emotions and curb emotional eating are all part of what I do.
Your best weight is the weight you achieve when you commit to a lifestyle that you can happily maintain – a “life”style that’s sustainable! We can’t all be thin or blue-eyed. I also support you to move towards self-acceptance.
Read the full post by Dr. Macklin here.
*I can’t say how widely obesity medications are used or how difficult they are to access. If you can, I’d love to hear from you.