We all know that weight loss is a challenge, but even so, many people succeed at reaching their goals every year. Then they shift into the next stage, and sometimes feel surprised at how difficult weight maintenance can be. Why is that?
Your metabolism has slowed. More calories are required to maintain a body that weighs more, and the opposite is also true. Now that you weigh much less, you don’t need as many calories to maintain that weight. So, your metabolism has slowed down in order to compensate for your new size. If you go back to your “old way” of eating, the result is that you regain the weight. You can combat this, to some degree, by adding muscle to your frame as you lose weight. Muscle requires more calories to maintain itself, so you can keep your metabolism burning a bit harder.
Your hormones shift. Your body might feel a bit too determined to maintain its old weight, instead of the new. Levels of leptin, which decrease appetite, often decrease after a significant weight loss. On the other hand, your body produces more ghrelin, which increases appetite. The end result is that you feel hungry, and tempted to eat foods that won’t exactly support your end goals. Sometimes appetite suppressants can help with this problem.
You’re thinking about food more. That increased appetite might lead you to think about food more frequently. But there’s another reason for this: Your weight loss plan taught you how to analyze the nutritional content of foods, and focus on portion sizes. This is a good thing, but now you’re in the habit of thinking about food quite a bit. That’s why it’s important to allow your new healthier habits to become, well, habit. That way you don’t have to think about food as often.
Your mindset has shifted. For some people, a weight loss plan means identifying “good” and “bad” foods. Unfortunately, once you’ve designated something as “bad”, you start to crave it even more! That’s why we focus more on nutrition, than a system of rewards and punishments.
Whether you’ve just started a weight loss plan, or you’re already moving into the weight maintenance stage, professional guidance can help. Give us a call, and we’ll help you adjust your eating plan so that you can maintain your new weight.