I've always been…
This post was inspired by this one, written by Grethen Voss at Women’s Health. Although it’s written for women, it’s the exact same problem with men. People in general re-bound time and time again, and this was the best written and excellently summarised article I could find on the topic.
This article delves into the severe problem of weight regain, and the author nails it when she gives the multiple causes of this phenomenon; including mindset issues and awful dieting strategies.
Let’s get into it:
What Chance Do I Have?
“Kirstie Alley regained the 70-plus pounds she lost on Jenny Craig. Maureen “Marcia Brady” McCormick got even heavier after she was on Celebrity Fit Club. Oprah, well, we all know about her struggles. Janet Jackson, Kelly Clarkson… the list goes on and on.
It makes you wonder: If these rich, powerful women, with their personal trainers and private chefs, can’t win the weight war, what chance do I have?”
Yep, it’s not about how much money, power, status or influence you have (although those things can help), the underlying factor is always going to be ‘How badly do you want it?’, or in other words; discipline.
If you can train yourself to be disciplined over time, you have as good a chance as anybody on the planet.
“It doesn’t help that the statistics are grim: By some estimates, more than 80 percent of people who have lost weight regain all of it, or more, after two years. Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles analyzed 31 long-term diet studies and found that about two-thirds of dieters regained more weight within four or five years than they initially lost.”
And if you extend this timeline to beyond five years, it gets even worse; 97%. Not good, which is why I harp on about lowering your body fat setpoint, rather than merely ‘losing weight’. One is very different to the other, and requires a lot more forethought and planning.
“Women who want to lose weight know these painful numbers all too well. “I’ve been on a roller coaster for the past two years,” says Leigh Moyer, 31, of Philadelphia. In 2003, she lost 25 of her 155 pounds by diligently counting calories and logging daily sweat sessions at the gym. Four years later, busy with graduate school and her job at a software company, Leigh blew off her workouts and stopped monitoring her portions… and shot up to 175. “It was so sad, so frustrating,” she says. “I let myself down.”
Along with the emotional toll is a physical one: Not only is the extra weight a health risk, but recent studies have linked the gain-lose-gain cycle to such potentially life-threatening conditions as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, depression, heart disease, and cancer.”
Yep, maintenance requires work. If you stop working out, lifting weights (for you guys), doing cardio, counting calories (even if it’s just a rough number in your head – which does work for maintenance before you get to the point where you can intuitively eat), then you’ll rebound.
Any goal that you have successfully accomplished in the past will require some work to maintain:
- Lowered body fat
- Increased muscle
“Experts believe a yo-yo pattern is often the result of a diet that’s too restrictive, and a study reported in the journal Obesity backs that up: It found that people who followed a very low-calorie diet regained significantly more weight than those on a more forgiving plan. Desperate for quick results in a culture of instant gratification, “women try to lose weight on diets with too few calories,” says Judith Beck, Ph.D., director of the Beck Institute of Cognitive Therapy and author of “The Beck Diet Solution.” “If you lose weight on 1,200 calories a day, the minute you go up to 1,300 is the minute you start gaining weight.”
Successfully lowering your body fat % set-point, i.e not rebounding, takes a long time. We do indeed live in an insane culture that hates hard work and prioritises instant gratification. This is really bad for fitness, and the obesity statistics reflect this.
If you go too low on calories, you will swing back every time. Trying to go below 10 calories per pound of bodyweight will cause too much deprivation. Hormonal, psychological, physiological, I don’t care what the specific cause of this deprivation is. Focusing on these things takes focus away from the main point – don’t go below this figure. Ever.
“It happened to Tracy Srail. The 24-year-old from Atlanta has watched the scale bounce between 130 and 160 pounds for the past four years. “At one point, I was eating only one or two meals a day and chugging Rockstar energy drinks because I heard that caffeine increases your metabolism. I lost 15 pounds, but it didn’t stick,” she says. “I weigh about 155 now.”
Even on a sensible diet, your body sheds pounds reluctantly. “One reason it’s difficult to keep weight off is because there is a metabolic overcompensation for weight loss,” says Gary Foster, Ph.D., director of the Center of Obesity Research and Education at Temple University in Philadelphia. “If you decrease your body mass by 10 percent, you would expect your metabolic rate to decrease by 10 percent, but it actually slows down more than that, by about 11 to 15 percent.”
She doesn’t state how many calories she was eating (warning sign!) but reading between the lines, I reckon 1-2 meals is about 1000-1200 calories to her. That’s too low! Women definitely need to do more cardio than men (in terms of the percentage of their calorie deficit), otherwise they just end up starving. She shouldn’t EVER go below 1300 calories! Do more cardio instead.
There is a metabolic slowdown, but as I’ve said for years; it’s a small factor compared to:
- The hunger increases
- The feelings of deprivation
- The cravings
These are all far more likely to make you eat more food and get yourself into a large, consistent calorie surplus than an 11-15% decrease in your metabolism.
Appetite suppressing strategies are incredibly important. If you don’t have coffee, eat fewer, larger meals, eat higher protein and higher fiber diets, and reduce sugar, then you’re making life harder for yourself as you’ll always be starving.
The More You Yo-Yo Diet, The Harder It Gets
“What’s more, says Brownell, who coined the term “yo-yo dieting” in the 1980s, weight cycling can actually change your physiology. So the more diets you’ve been on, the harder it becomes to lose the weight. A hunger hormone called ghrelin increases, and a fullness hormone called leptin decreases, so you feel hungrier and less satiated.”
The more you go up and down without periods of maintenance to let everything adjust, the more you screw yourself up; hormonally, metabolically, your hunger is completely screwed up permanently etc.
It IS Your Fault!
“David Kessler, M.D., former U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner and author of “The End of Overeating,” and his team of researchers at the University of California at San Francisco and Yale University, looked into the biology of weight cycling. They found that the reward circuits in the brains of people Kessler calls “conditioned hypereaters” were excessively activated simply by the smell of food and stayed that way until those people finished eating whatever was on the plate in front of them.
In other words, when you have overactive neural circuitry, resisting temptation is not a question of willpower alone. “This is a biological cause of conditioned hypereating. It’s the first time we can say ‘It’s not your fault,’ ” Kessler says. He estimates that 50 percent of obese people and 30 percent of overweight people are conditioned hypereaters.”
Oh I’m disappointed. He was doing so well as well. But now he’s gone from smart, sensible MD to Politically Correct fool.
‘It’s not your fault’
YES IT IS YOU BUFFOON! IF YOU’RE OVERWEIGHT, IT’S YOUR OWN FAULT!!
This is hilarious as I’ve tweeted about this quite a bit recently. Telling people (who actually want to lose weight and save their own lives) that it’s not their fault is LITERALLY TAKING ALL POWER AWAY FROM THEM! CAN YOU NOT SEE?!
If they genuinely believe it’s not their fault, then they have no hope in hell of fixing it. You’ve just delivered a death sentence to them you absolute moron!
The inverse is to tell them that is is their fault, but this also means that they have the power to reverse it!!
Two major benefits to this:
- It’s the truth
- It gives them the power to change, rather than mistakenly thinking it’s outside of their control
Plenty of people, myself included, used to be ‘conditioned hypereaters’, but we’re not anymore. This stuff is changeable. To say otherwise is to be a pathetic, zero-willpowered pussy. I used to be unbelievably greedy, but the problems were:
- Not Intermittent Fasting
- Not drinking coffee
- Not building discipline over time
Don’t forget guys, I used to be fairly chubby. I’m not ‘lucky’ or ‘genetically gifted’. I just realised that everything was under my control, which is was. That’s the truth.
“Evidence shows, however, that this reaction is partially learned, and that through conditioning, you can rewire your brain. After all, the yen to yo-yo is not just physical; emotional triggers play a huge role too. A study at Brown University found that dieters who ate in response to emotions such as stress or loneliness — as opposed to external events, like overdoing it at happy hour — were more likely to regain weight.”
Good, I’m glad they threw that in there. It’s learned behaviour, and all of it is changeable. Not ‘partially’, all of it is. I used to be genuinely hungry eating 3500 calories per day at 17% body fat. Whereas now I struggle to eat 2800 calories at 10% body fat.
It’s ALL under your control.
And yes stress and lonliness are two emotions you need to eliminate from your life permanently. There’s just no need for them. They’re unnecessary. I can’t remember the last time I felt lonely. Self-imposed stress, admittedly is something I’m still working on to some degree, but I’ve come a long way.
They both make it much harder to lose weight, as you get cravings and it’s your body’s way of trying to ‘soothe’ these emotions. You don’t need them – no good comes from them. Getting good with relationships and tme management will more or less solve this.
Protect Your Health
“But perhaps most startling is the dangerous and lasting effect weight cycling has on the immune system. According to the first study of the long-term impacts of yo-yo dieting, women who repeatedly lost and gained weight had lower immune function, particularly lower counts of natural killer cells. “These cells are important for fending off infections and are also vital in fighting the early stages of cancer,” says Cornelia Ulrich, M.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Low killer-cell activity is associated with higher rates of cancer. In her study of more than a hundred overweight but otherwise healthy women, those who had yo-yoed most frequently — five times or more — decreased their natural killer-cell activity by a third.
With so many drawbacks, you might wonder if you’d be better off just accepting your belly rolls. But the perils of being overweight still outweigh the risks of yo-yoing. So how do you quit the cycle for good? Despite what you read in the tabloids, it is possible.”
Again, this is aimed at women, but it’s the same with men. You MUST protect your immune system for the sake of your long-term health goals – don’t yo-yo diet, NEVER drastically change calories, and only shift them up in 5-10% margins.
Out with the instant gratification, in with the common sense.
Then with the final paragraph…no, don’t ‘accept’ your belly rolls. Just stop being an idiot and diet using long-term planning, good dieting strategies, and emotional control. Simple.
I hope this has been an insightful article into how to lose fat without rebouding. Everything is under your control, and you need to avoid doing dumb things with your diet, and do smart things instead. Simple.
Learn how to smash your goals, get lean without rebounding, and get brutally strong by signing up to my email list in the top right of the screeen (if you’re on a computer), or at the bottom (if you’re on your phone).