Why Do I Keep Losing Weight and Gaining It Back? (A: explain weight loss/gain cycle and how dieting contributes to it)
Although most of us wish that weight loss was a straight, linear process in which you start out at a higher weight and steadily proceed to a lower weight, the reality is often much different. If charted, it would look more like a roller coaster ride with extreme peaks and valleys, which can make you wonder why you keep losing weight only to gain it back.
Understanding the Weight Loss/Weight Gain Cycle
Perhaps the biggest misconception about losing weight is that once it is off, it will stay off forever. However, any successful “loser” will tell you that that isn’t the case. It takes just as much effort to maintain your weight loss as it did to lose it in the first place, if not more.
The reason for this is twofold. First, once you reach a place with your weight that feels comfortable to you, not necessarily at your goal but you start to feel better about where you are, you begin to relax your food and exercise habits.
So, before you know it, your past behaviors of eating bigger portions that you need or choosing foods that aren’t the best for you slowly creep back into your life, creeping you back into your bigger pant sizes at the same time.
Blame it On Diets
The second common reason for the weight loss cycle is the whole notion of dieting. In fact, if you think about the word “diet”, it represents short-term changes. This, of course, leads to short-term results.
Additionally, diets are defined by their deprivation of foods you love most. This leaves you feeling as if you’re short-changed, making you crave your favorite unhealthy foods even more. Eventually, you give in to your desires and allow yourself to eat everything that was forbidden, hence the weight gain which sends you in search of your next diet to do it all over again.
Breaking the Pattern
The only way to effectively break the pattern of losing weight just to gain it back is to realize that this is a lifelong process. If you want permanent results, then you’re going to have to make permanent changes. There is simply no way around it.
Once you come to terms with this concept, then you need to start figuring out what changes are necessary in your life. In other words, what unhealthy behaviors do you need to either lose or gain in order to get where you want to be in regard to your own health and wellness?
One of the most common changes for a lot of people is eating smaller portions. In this day and age of everything being supersized, it’s not surprising that we eat too much as a society. We’re told that it makes more sense to order bigger portions for just a few pennies more. However, what we save in our checkbook goes straight to our waistline.
Using a portion control system such as SlimPlate helps you easily recognize how much food is enough to supply your body the vitamins and minerals it needs. At first, it may seem like too little, but rest assured it is not. It is the exact amount necessary to give you all of your nutrients without oversupplying the calories or fat you don’t need.
Know Why You Gain
It also helps to understand what triggers your weight gains. For instance, is it stress that drives you to eat or do you tend to consume more unhealthy foods when you’re lonely? Knowing what sends you to the kitchen cupboards and fridge is search of food can help you stop unnecessary eating before it starts.
Think about the times in your life in which your weight record started to climb and consider what was happening at the time. Look for patterns that emerge, and see if there are any commonalities about how you felt during those stages and what is going on in the world around you now.
Knowing what causes you to gain weight allows you to come up with alternative solutions that don’t involve food. For example, if you discover that it is anxiety that drives you to want to eat even when you’re not physically hungry, you can figure out more constructive ways to deal with that emotion, such as going for a walk or calling a friend.
Losing weight and keeping it off isn’t easy, but it is worth it. You’ll feel better physically and mentally and have more energy for things you enjoy.
What have you learned about yourself that helps you lose weight? How do you intend to keep it off?