Weight Loss- The Struggle is Real

So you put in all that hard work, you lost all that weight, and then "It came back with a vengeance!"  Sound familiar?  Been there, done that?  Well, you are in good company.  
 
After achieving all that hard-earned weight loss, why do so many people struggle only to regain it all back?
 
First we need to consider what the goal was initially.  And let's be real here; unrealistic goals will likely result in failure.   Did you wanna be "high school skinny?"    Some diets may be so restricting that not only are they unsustainable, they can be unhealthy.  The same goes for unrealistic exercise goals...I'm sure you're all too familiar with New Year's Resolutions...
 
Now unfortunately, your body can be cruel; as soon as you start to lose weight, your body wants it back - and then some.  Your body doesn't believe that you want to exert less force on the bathroom scale, and it goes into survival mode.  When body weight is lost, famine and preservation mode is activated.   This in turn lowers your metabolism and increases your appetite all in an effort to maintain the "supply."  
 
Then there is our sedentary lifestyles.  While we may love many of our modern day conveniences that are present in virtually every aspect of life, it undoubtedly encourages a less physically active lifestyle.  So don't be a couch potato, unless you're a hash brown, "'cause they're totally shredded!"   (haha, I crack me up... my wife says I'm a dork... I have no idea why)
 
Now I don't mean to be all Doom and Gloom, there is hope and it is very possible to keep that weight loss, well... lost.  
 
There are obviously many factors involved in weight loss and maintenance.  It's important to first accept the factors that you can't change, such as your age, gender, and parents, ie genetics.  But there are so many major factors that you can control; which include but are not limited to your food choices, portion control, activity level, stress, sleep, and your goals.
 
Keep it off!  For many people, the hardest part is getting the weight off in the first place.  Now you need to refocus that grit and determination in maintaining and keeping the weight off.  Easier said then done, I know, but here are some tips and things to consider.
 
Don't think of weight loss as a diet, think of it in long-term goals that are sustainable.
 
Lose the weight slowly.  When weight is lost quickly, particularly if it's done without exercise, muscle mass is lost as well as fat.  Maintaining muscle is crucial in maintaining your metabolism.  Muscle loss results in slowed metabolism, which makes losing weight more difficult.  So, don't be a yo-yo; avoid fad diets.  Fad diets may lead to rapid weight loss, but with undesirable consequences.  You know the adage: if it's too good to be true, it probably is.  
 
Improve those food choices.  Focus on high quality, nutrient dense foods.  Avoid processed foods and empty calories which can wreak havoc in many aspects of your health, and not just your weight.  Chances are, If you can find it at the farmer's market, it's likely much better for you than something in a box with "great shelf life."
 
Portion control; when it come to food and drinks, more is not MORE BETTER.  And, while you're at it, ssslllooowww down.  Don't "inhale" your food, it's not a race!  Slower eating not only aids digestion but did you know it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to receive the signal that your stomach is full?   Eat too fast and you'll continue to consume calories way past the point of satiety.
 
Exercise is key in maintaining weight loss.  Incorporate aerobic and resistance exercises as these stimulate your metabolism, they help maintain muscle mass and bone density, as well as providing a whole slew of cardiovascular and mental health benefits.  
 
Manage your stress.  Improve your sleep.  Both can help maintain weight loss.  You know what helps both of those?  You got it! Exercise!
 

Once again it comes back around  to having realistic goals.  Let me leave you to ponder and enjoy some lyrics from musician Toby Keith:    "I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was."

Author
Nathan Franke, PA-C Nathan was raised in Nebraska and received his undergraduate degree from University of Nebraska. He furthered his studies and completed his Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Georgia. He then went on to work as a clinical exercise physiologist in cardiac rehabilitation for seven years in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Nathan decided to climb the clinical ladder and advanced his education and completed a Master's in Physician Assistant Studies from A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona. Nathan has extensive experience in the field of spine and pain management for a combined 8+ years. He has assisted in surgical spine cases, in addition to his current focus on spine and pain management. Outside of the office, Nathan enjoys time with family (and pet), exercising, and taking advantage of Arizona's great weather and spending time outdoors.

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