There are lots of one-size-fits all do-it-yourself ways to drop that excess weight quickly: paleo, keto, low-carb, etc.. Then there are other more expensive regimes that involve purchasing powders, patches or prepared meals that are sent to your house. Some claim these programs hold the “secret formula” to sustained weight loss.
But there are others who have tried many programs over the years and have found that all that weight lost at such great effort (and expense) is gained back not long after the powders, patches or meals are stopped or the program finishes. This is the classic “yo-yo” effect-- and by the way, it’s not good for the body.
Why does this happen? There are several possible explanations:
1) The long-term is the only thing that matters
Because there a myriad ways to lose weight in the short-term (e.g. a few months), the focus must be on the long-term. This is a different ballgame. We need to be re-trained to listen to our body’s signals of hunger and satiation, to recognize appropriate portions, to shift the taste-buds in order to turn down the “craving monster”, to know what a balanced nutritional intake actually is, and to gradually work regular exercise that we enjoy into our permanent lifestyle. And some people need to dig deeply in order to recognize how they use food in possibly unhealthy ways (“emotional eating”).
As all of this learning evolves, it becomes easier to keep the weight off permanently.
2) Like medicine, your food plan should be personalized
One-size-fits-all approaches to weight loss might be effective for some, but they leave others hungry all the time, unable to deal with their cravings, or just unable to lose the weight in the first place. Just as medicine is moving towards being personalized, so should nutrition.
A personal nutrition plan is geared not only to your height, weight and gender, but also to your physiology and current health status.
3) Your metabolism must be balanced
If a weight loss program does not at the same time balance the metabolism, your body’s mechanisms for absorbing, storing or utilizing nutrients will not undergo the permanent shift that is needed in order to keep the weight off. The key to this shift is usually management of insulin, the “mother” endocrine hormone.
You might be thinking, “I’m not diabetic, so I don’t need to worry about insulin.” Turns out Type 2 Diabetes is now thought to be a metabolic process that begins as much as 20 years before it’s typically diagnosed[i].
A nutrition plan geared towards your individual metabolism can help your body manage insulin levels and prevent diabetes before it can ever emerge (see reason #2). For those currently living with Type 2 Diabetes, you probably already know that insulin levels can be managed largely through food[ii].
4) You might need outside help
Some people can lose weight and keep it off on their own. But a coach can provide regular evidence-based guidance as you navigate your learning journey. A coach is NOT your partner, sister or best friend, and is therefore in the “judgement-free zone”, able to provide the accountability that can be vital to sustained weight loss. A good coach is laser-focused on your progress and can share regular evidence-based guidance as you navigate your learning journey. A coach is also well situated to give you constant encouragement and help keep you positive, because making permanent changes to eating habits and lifestyle may not be easy.
For more information on personalized weight loss and long-term weight management, visit my profile, follow me, and learn about Wellness Care Online, which focuses on balancing hormones, metabolism, weight and mood.
Have you identified other reasons why you have been unable to keep the weight off?
[i] Hiroyuki Sagesaka; Yuka Sato; Yuki Someya; Yoshifumi Tamura; Masanori Shimodaira; Takahiro Miyakoshi; Kazuko Hirabayashi; Hideo Koike; Koh Yamashita; Hirotaka Watada; Toru Aizawa. “Type 2 Diabetes: When does it Start?” J Endo Soc. 2018;2(5):476-484.
[ii] Mohammed Asif. “Management and control of Type-2 Diabetes by changing lifestyle and dietary patterns”. J Educ Health Promot. 2014; 3(1).