This is why you regain weight so quickly

Losing weight might not be easy, but the biggest battle is certainly keeping it off.

Almost everyone who struggles with weight has been there: Losing weight is cinch, but the biggest battle is keeping it off. So why is persistent weight maintenance so difficult?

One of the main explanations you hear around town is a drop in metabolism. “The idea has merit, but it only reveals part of the picture” says nutrition scientist, Dr Tim Crowe.

Our eating habits are very individual and change from day to day, which is why it’s much easier to measure changes in metabolism compared to accurately tracking what and how much a person eats.

Here are the top four reasons you regain weight and how to prevent it.

You want a quick fix

As a society we’ve become hard wired to expect everything quickly. We want instant success in everything we do and all our wants and needs to be fulfilled without delay.

Weight loss, though, is anything but immediate. Regardless of whether you continually count calories, avoid carbs or whatever the diet demands, you may get rapid results in the short-term (which is a big motivator for people), but then you need strategies to move into long-term patterns — which is why these regimens don’t address the underlying reasons why you are overweight.

The sobering reality is the human body will continue to fight against weight loss long after dieting has stopped.

The fix: A better approach is to take the focus off “the quickest way to lose weight”. Instead, look for positive lifestyle changes which allow you to adapt to new healthy habits, making it less likely that you will revert to old ways.

You’re ravenous (all the time)

A recent clinical trial tested a new drug for treating diabetes on two groups. Results showed that people on the drug, called canagliflozin (which works by making the kidneys excrete more glucose — a favourable side effect for weight loss), lost only slightly more weight than the non-drug group. Why? People in the drug treatment group were hungrier which drove them to eat an extra 100 calories each day for every kilogram of weight they lost.

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“The influence of hunger on weight regain is three-times stronger than a slowing of metabolism. Add the two together it appears almost inevitable that the lost weight will creep back on again for most people” adds Crowe. In other words, the more weight you lose, the more you eventually compensate by eating more.

The fix: Hunger is the physiological need for food, which is why it’s important to never ignore it. Work out a balanced eating plan (including the occasional treat) with a satisfying amount of food that works best for you, and don’t be afraid to experiment with eating more if your health isn’t where you want it to be.

Mental lapses

For a lot of people, weight loss is a journey that requires a lot of mental preparation and sacrifice. Once they reach their goal weight, the “diet” is over — a mindset that sets the scene for regain.

This is amplified by the fact that the body recalibrates its metabolism as the weight drops, however the effort required to maintaining new eating habits are often difficult to sustain.

The fix: The diet mentality needs to stop. Change your mindsets from “weight conscious” to “health conscious”. Refrain from labelling things “good” or “bad” and focus on providing your body with sustaining, nourishing food you enjoy.

Rely on willpower

Ever notice when you decide to give up a favourite food, it’s the only thing you can think about? Restrictive thinking, such as that found in many popular diets, will lead the way down Struggle Street and almost guarantee defeat.

For many, “diet” means a set amount of time during which you must exercise superhuman willpower to resist temptation and overwhelming hunger at the end of which you can finally reward yourself with junk food binge.

“Regaining weight has little to do with poor self-control. Our bodies are primed to fight against weight loss. You can ignore hunger cues for a time, but they will persist for much longer than your willpower,” adds Crowe.

The fix: Identify your triggers to overeat: stress, fatigue, boredom, skipping meals — and build “non-food” strategies, such as go for a walk, call a friend, or take a bath instead, rather than relying on willpower.

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This is how you cancel out those excess Easter calories

Here’s how to get your diet back on track after the Easter eating blowout.

We have all been there — four chocolate bunnies, an unaccountable number of little solid eggs along with what seems like hundreds of Hot Cross Buns soaking in butter … and unfortunately a couple of extra kilos to go with it.

So is there any way you can negate the extra Easter calories from a diet and exercise perspective?

Maybe not every single one but you can make a serious dent in your recent calorie intake and negate at least some weight gain if you put your mind to it.

1. Drop the heavy meals

When you are loading up on calorie and sugar heavy chocolate, you are literally consuming thousands of calories. Now considering that we need just 1500-2000 calories per day, if you have overdosed the chocolate, you are only going to actually need small, low calories meals. Forget the pasta, rice and pizza at this time and if you are actually not hungry for a meal, it will not hurt you to miss one or two until you actually genuinely feel hungry again.

2. Consider a fast

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More and more evidence is building to show that regular periods of low calorie eating offer a number of benefits for our metabolic health. This does not mean going for days and days without food or carbs, rather regular periods of low calorie (600-800 calorie) eating. As such, resorting to a day or two of a low calorie diet after any period of extreme overeating is an easy way to give your metabolism the boost it needs after a period of excessive consumption. A low calorie day would include an egg and coffee for breakfast and a light dinner of 100g fish and vegetables.

3. Focus on low calorie foods

Broth and vegetable based soups, salads along with white fish, prawns, vegetables and berries are all nutrient rich foods that contain very few calories. A period of overeating high fat and high sugar chocolate has most likely flooded the muscles with plenty of extra energy. In an attempt to buffer this, focusing your meals around salad and vegetables will get your diet back on track in no time.

4. Move, move, move

Extra calories do not present an issue as long as you burn them off. This means that you need to take advantage of the Easter holiday days and move, a lot. This does not mean a stroll around the park with the dog, rather it means clocking up a serious number of steps as well as exercising while you have the extra time. Aim for at least 10000 steps each day as well as 30-60 minutes of exercise when your heart rate is elevated. If you consider that a small chocolate bunny contains 600-800 calories, or an hour of high intensity exercise, you can see how much exercise it is going to take to burn some of your Easter indulgences off.

5. Get rid of the treats

Once Easter has come and gone it is time to get the chocolate, show bags and Easter buns out of the house, as if they are there, you will eat them. One of the biggest issues when it comes to big celebrations is that the eating goes on for weeks after the actual event. You can only eat so much chocolate in a couple of days, so once Easter is over get rid of it and you will be back to your usual weight in no time.

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