Why can’t we keep weight off when we lose it?
Approximately 66% of the adult Australian population is overweight or obese and most have experienced weight loss followed by weight gain, and often more than they lost in the first instance.
Our bodies have a ‘set point’ – a weight at which the body actually feels most comfortable. When we drastically reduce our calorie intake the body works to counteract the loss by slowing down the metabolism and increasing the activity of grehlin (remember the ‘hunger’ hormone from last month?) plus we save a little bit extra as a buffer in case the ‘diet’ (body views it as starvation!) happens again.
By slowing down our weight loss (0.5-1kg per month would be ideal!) then ‘resting’ at that new set point for a month and allowing the body to adjust, then going again we are more successful at keeping the weight off. This means the majority of weight lost is fat rather than bone, muscle and water (which typically happens when weight loss is rapid).
How do you do it? Focus on quality sleep to ensure hormone levels are balanced, exercise correctly for your body type (most will need LSD – long slow distance and some will need resistance training to increase lean muscle mass), eat small, regular meals with good quality whole foods (think fresh and home made), eating a robust breakfast and smaller evening meals.
Dr Nick Fuller writes about Interval Weight Loss:
- Be aware of how much food you are consuming and reduce portion sizes
- Cook at home as much as possible
- Start reading information about the inequality of calories (Dr Helena Popovic has done some work in this area and it’s super interesting)
- Don’t avoid things you enjoy, simply reduce portions. Aim for 1 treat a week and 1 meal out a week
- Maintain the weight loss from April
- Don’t actively reduce or increase portion sizes
- Keep habits sustainable so that weight gain doesn’t occur then up the ante a little for the month of June
- Perhaps have 2 treats or two meals out each week
- In other words, take your foot off the accelerator a little bit (don’t slam on the brakes and throw it into reverse, just ease off the gas…)
Graph it! It will keep you on target and allow you to see when you drop and when you maintain.
I will summarise Dr Nick Fuller’s book soon and make sure you have the opportunity to read more in depth tips on how to make this happen.
- Melissa Ingram
- Clinical Health Services Manager
- Retreat physiotherapist
- Personal Trainer
- Wellness Coach
Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat and Spa