Why Does the Lost Weight Come Back?

So you did all the hard work – eaten right, worked your butt off (literally and figuratively) and gotten into shape. But afterwards, slowly but surely the weight came back! Why does the weight come back? Why doesn’t the lost weight stay lost?

Well most people, when they embark on a quest to lose weight they “Go on a Diet” or they start an “Exercise Program”. The mindset here is that you do something for a set period of time that will give you desired results – in this case you restrict calories or amend eating habits and do exercises in order to lose weight for a certain period.

Going on a diet or having a set exercise program assumes that you think of this as a temporary life alteration to achieve a set goal after which you revert to your prior “Normal” routine. This is the fundamental mistake that people make – thinking that that healthy eating and exercising are a temporary interlude in life that should be adapted only to the end of achieving the desired weight loss, after which it is OK to revert to a previous lifestyle.

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It is a simple concept – if you do something temporarily, its effects will also be temporary. For this reason the minute you revert to “normal” eating (which in most cases is a case of overeating; eating more than the body actually needs) the weight inexorably creeps back. The fact is that if you want to lose weight and then keep it off, only a lifestyle alteration; consistent practice of healthy habits will help.

This is the reason that fad diets and crash diets just never seem to work; particularly those that restrict calories severely. When the body experiences severe caloric restriction it perceives this as starvation or times of scarcity. And then when you revert to your ‘normal’ diet the body perceives this as a time of plenty and an opportunity to regain lost resources. Our bodies evolved to behave this way when food sources were either scarce or unreliable.

Now that our lifestyle is so much different than that of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, and there is no dearth of food and other resources of sustenance, we literally have to fight against this evolutionary tendency of our body to horde fat.

So if you want to lose weight and keep it off, a lifestyle alteration and a lifelong commitment to eating healthy and exercising are the only things that will work!