Why do I find it difficult to keep off the weight I've lost?

Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine
Is your brain sabotaging your attempts to keep weight off? In this video, Dr. Robin Miller explains the sneaky way obesity changes the brain.
Many times because one reaches a goal and then relaxes...becomes complacent. Slowly old lifestyle habits make there way back in to our lives and we are headed in a backward direction.  The approach taken to lose the weight is also important to consider.  Quick fix diets that are not sustainable become very difficult to maintain. They don't teach us how to gradually change our lifestyle and replace unhealthy habits with new healthy sustainable ones and so when we reach our goal and stop, we don't know what to do next other than what we did before the given diet.
Chris Embry
People that have a hard time keeping their weight off have usually stopped doing what got them losing it in the first place.  When someone goes on a diet, they pay attention to the type of foods they consume and how much they are eating, as well as incorporate some form of exercise into their day.  When you reach the point where you are satisfied with your weight, it is important to slowly come off the diet.  You can start eating a bit more to maintain your weight since you do not need to be in a calorie deficit any longer.  However, you cannot go back to the same habits that put on the weight in first place.

A more realistic approach would be to make a gradual lifestyle change by incorporating more lean protein, healthy fats, and vegetables in your diet.  You can still enjoy your favorite foods, but keep it in moderation.  In fact, you may enjoy them even more since you are not eating them all the time.  Healthy eating and regular exercise should always be part of your lifestyle; not just when you are trying to lose weight.
Kelly Traver
Internal Medicine

Most experts agree that keeping weight off after you have lost it is harder than losing the weight in the first place. There are several reasons for this. One, people tend to experience diet fatigue after they have been on a diet. They are able to maintain their enthusiasm for a diet in the short run, but after a while, they get tired of paying such close attention to what they are eating and not being able to enjoy whatever they want. What's more, people who have lost weight need fewer calories to sustain that lower weight. Generally, for each pound you lose, you need eight fewer calories per day to maintain your new weight. Often, the increased exercise and muscle mass from a good exercise program have increased your resting metabolism to compensate for some of the energy gap. But chances are that if you've lost a significant amount of weight, you are going to need to stay at a lower calorie level just to maintain your new, lower weight.

Continue Learning about Weight Maintenance

Weight Maintenance

Weight Maintenance

Losing the weight is only one step in the journey to better overall health. After the weight is gone, it's all about maintenance – adopting a lifestyle that incorporates healthy eating, daily exercise and continued goal setting. A...

nd there are lots of different ways to maintain your weight that help make the lifestyle switch easier: eat breakfast daily, load up on fruits and veggies and establish manageable weight loss habits like walking once a day. All of these can be easily incorporated in your healthy weight maintenance plan and keep you from putting the pounds back on.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.