When you are on a weight loss journey, the effects can sometimes feel like you are riding a yo-yo — up towards progress and back down to where you started. Not only is it hard on the body, but this can also be difficult for your mental health and finances. The back and forth nature of weight loss is common though, and many people on this journey experience this — so much so that there is a term for it: weight cycling. Studies show that almost 75% of people striving for weight loss experience the weight coming back at some point. In 2016, research revealed that even on shows like the Biggest Loser, 13 out of 14 studied participants regained weight after their time on the competitive weight-loss show — with four contestants ultimately walking away from the show has gained more weight than when they started. With this concept of weight cycling even plaguing those being guided by trained professionals like the Biggest Loser contestants, it is pretty obvious that there is a great deal of underlying reasoning as to why this issue is so prevalent. To learn more about these secret pitfalls, check out these top 10 most common reasons you regain the weight you’ve lost.
Your eating habits are the same as before you lost weight.
We all have a tendency to slack off after we’ve lost the weight we were trying to lose. And maybe a celebratory meal here or there won’t have a huge impact, but many of us go straight for the jugular. This is particularly troublesome because if you started eating less to lose weight, your metabolism probably slowed down simultaneously, through a process called metabolic adaptation. So once you return to your old eating habits, you are eating more with an even slower metabolism than when you originally started.
Once you return to your old eating habits, you are eating more with an even slower metabolism than when you originally started.
You have a constantly high-stress load.
If you are consistently under a lot of stress, this could be contributing to weight gain. When our bodies are under stress, the hormone cortisol is released, which causes food to be metabolized slower. What’s more interesting but catastrophic for weight loss is that when we are stressed, we crave foods that are higher in sugar and fat. This two-for-one stress combo can wreak havoc on our ability to keep weight off.
When we are stressed, we crave foods that are higher in sugar and fat.
You stopped working out.
It is essential to have a plan after you lose the initial weight. Many times, we focus our weight loss goals on losing weight, but fail when we don’t think ahead and create a weight maintenance plan. Not only do we burn less calories strictly from less activity, but that lack of movement causes a dip in our metabolisms.
Lack of movement causes a dip in our metabolisms.
You do the same workout over and over.
Consistency is great, but doing the same workout too consistently will eventually lead to potential weight rebound. What you can be consistent in is keeping your body guessing. When we do the same routines over and over, our bodies get bored and adapt, and therefore, burn less calories.
When we do the same routines over and over, our bodies get bored and adapt, and therefore, burn less calories.
You are not getting enough sleep.
Many do not know just how essential sleep is to weight maintenance. Even losing as little as a half-hour of sleep in comparison to your regular sleep routine can cause weight gain. Researchers found that just 30 minutes less sleep per night can increase the risk of obesity to a whopping 17% higher rate. Ghrelin is the hunger-stimulating hormone, which is activated by small occurrences of sleep deprivation such as this.
Even losing as little as a half hour of sleep in comparison to your regular sleep routine can cause weight gain.
You overuse the microwave.
Everyone loves the convenience of frozen foods, but ready-made meals that you pop into the microwave are terrible for weight maintenance. They may claim to be healthy, and are decent from the caloric and portion control perspective. But frozen meals are packed full of preservatives and processed ingredients: two big adversaries to weight loss and weight maintenance. Overly processed foods not only put weight on, but can also cause inflammation and a host of other health issues down the line.
Overly processed foods not only put weight on, but can also cause inflammation and a host of other health issues down the line.
You have a warped reward system.
Dropping a lot of weight can make it tempting to immediately start rewarding yourself with burgers and fries. But this is not really honoring your efforts and achievements by losing the weight, because you are just begging your body to put it right back on. Try shifting your reward system to things that will reinforce your commitment to a healthy body, like a new exercise regimen or workout gear.
Try shifting your reward system to things that will reinforce your commitment to a healthy body.
You aren’t focusing on protein intake.
Everything is about balance, and this is definitely the case with nutritional intake. One of the key components to keeping the weight off that you’ve lost is ensuring that you are getting enough protein. Protein is key in preventing your metabolism from slowing down. By making sure that you are keeping lean muscle, you will continue to tell your body to burn the unwanted fat.
Protein is key in preventing your metabolism from slowing down.
You’re on new medications.
New meds can be a sneaky culprit in weight gain. All drugs come with side effects, and many of them impact your weight. Prescriptions like birth control, anti-seizure, pain relievers, antidepressants, and more can all cause you to gain weight.
All drugs come with side effects, and many of them impact your weight.
You are overindulging in alcohol.
Nothing packs on the pounds like too many cocktails. This is not to say that a happy hour or two will ruin your weight loss achievements. But having too much alcohol on a consistent basis ruins your metabolism. The body breaks down alcohol before food, so this leaves the fat stored in your body, and also slows your metabolism.
Nothing packs on the pounds like too many cocktails.