Why do so many people gain weight after losing it?
One good answer involves determining what kind of weight was lost. In our desperation to slim down, we can sacrifice quality weight loss (primarily body fat) with a partial fat/partial muscle combination—a natural occurrence if you’re not following a ketogenic diet, like Ideal Protein or if you’re exercising vigorously while drastically cutting calories. If weight loss involves a significant portion of muscle, your basal metabolic rate will decrease and your metabolism will be slower. That’s not our objective and if you’ve lost weight with us, you know that.
But that’s not what this article is about. What if you’ve lost quality weight, dropped your body fat percentage by 5 or ten percent—and you still feel your skinny jeans getting tight. Are you failing? Did the diet fail? Does your body “want” to be overweight?
Learning to maintain a healthy weight is more like doing laundry and less like going to Europe. I’ll explain.
Let’s say you went to Europe—Italy. It might have been thirty years ago, it might have been for only one day—but for the rest of your life, whenever the subject of international travel comes up, you can chime in with experiences from your incredible Italian escapade. It takes no further effort. The story is true and it’s yours.
Now let’s talk about laundry. When’s the last time you washed a load of clothes? When’s the next time you’ll do laundry? Your laundering skills may be utilized daily or weekly—but unlike a dreamy trip to the Italian countryside it won’t be once and it can’t be thirty years ago. The reality is that keeping clothing clean—especially if you have children, takes daily effort and if you turn your back on it—even briefly, you’ll have a mountain-sized pile of stinky socks and dirty T-shirts to deal with.
Keeping your weight off is like that.
We like the words natural and organic. Did you know it’s natural to gain weight? Here are two reasons:
It means you fight back. You develop a strategy. You change what doesn’t work and give yourself grace to learn in the process.
What does fighting back look like?
It means tracking your food, maybe even tracking your macros in addition to calories. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. It means promising to only eat real food—fake food won’t cut it. It means falling in love with your kitchen, because if you don’t cook most of your own meals, you’ll struggle.
It’s time to start running, join CrossFit, try a class at the Y, hire a personal trainer, buy a bike or a treadmill or a jump rope and get sweaty, consistently. Mediocre effort yield mediocre results.
Keep practicing health. I can’t say the battle gets easier but I promise that you’ll get stronger.
I’m glad you lost weight just like I’m happy you took a nice vacation. But do you care as much about the other fifty weeks in the year? If so, it’s time to roll up your sleeves—again, and wash another load.
You got this,
Dionne is a certified Ideal Protein coach who lost 25 pounds following the protocol way back when. Since then she's learned to cook healthier meals (and actually eat them), get a daily dose of iron in the form barbells and kettle bells and is usually training to improve her time in an upcoming half marathon.