Rose was 96 kg. After some months of working out with me, she weighed 70 kg. She went shopping for new clothes and packed away her old clothes. Just after she lost weight, Christmas blew in with celebrations everywhere. In January she started wearing some of her discarded clothes. This should have been her wake up call. She kept rediscovering one discarded clothe after another and surprisingly, they were her size.
She came to her senses when she got a hard copy of a group photograph. The angle showed off her new weight gain without concealing anything. She thought long and hard and took a decision to go back to a healthy lifestyle. When she came back to the gym in February, she had gained 13 kg. She was speechless
There are always signs that you are regaining weight. The tighter jeans, the needle that starts creeping up on a scale and then goes galloping. The tighter sleeves, the chubbier cheeks, that uncomfortable feeling of heaviness. You are putting on weight.
You may be going through what is called ‘weight loss cycling’ – you lose weight and gain it back after some months, then you lose weight again and gain it back and on and on. The almost endless cycle of weight gain and weight loss.
Most of the contestants in extreme weight loss competition like “biggest loser” regain the weight they lost and some. Most times their eyes are on the price, the fame that comes from the show. You live with people and have a planned lifestyle and program. At the end you go home where there is no one breathing down your neck to do what is good for you; and the crash comes.
Studies have shown, and it is also a well-known fact that it is harder to lose weight after gaining it back. A cycle of near starvation, restriction, overeating and starvation makes the body to build resistance to your lifestyle.
You will have to look at this list if you are regaining weight and see if you are making any of this mistakes.
#1 You lost weight by following a highly restrictive diet
Any weight you lose by following a highly restrictive diet will surely come back the moment you break up with the diet. Restrictive diets are diets that forces you to cut off one or more groups of food or to indulge excessively in one group.
All the food groups are necessary for your well being. Experts agree that the best way to lose weight is by learning about proper nutrition, portion control and aiming to lose at least 1-2 kg every week.
#2 You avoid the scale
The scale is not your enemy. It is there to help you find out your number. If it is going up, you bring it down to your ideal weight, if it is normal you maintain it and if it is going down you bring it up to ideal. Aim to check your weight once a week, preferably on Saturdays. When you do so you are able to check any weight creep on time. What I have discovered from working with clients over the years is that it is easier to control and lose weight gain of 1 – 3 kg fast, than when it is 6-10 kg.
#3 You are sedentary –
Sitting down for more than 4 hrs everyday has been shown to increase the risk of weight gain. Sitting down and watching all the latest season movie is a no-no. Instead of getting out of bed and going for your work out in the morning, you decide to watch season 1, just season 1, fast. But most times, you will not be satisfied with the ending and want to know what happened in the next episode, so you become engrossed in the film till the workout becomes a distant memory.
#4 You are not engaged with your exercise
It is normal in some gyms to see people working out who are not engaged with their workout. They just go through the motions with a million thing except workout on their minds. You can sit on the bike and chat on your phone for I hr., check the time, jump down and go. The gym is not a place for chatting on your phone when working out. You can do that when you must have finished with your workout not before. Focus on what you are doing. Engage your abs, your body and your mind. Your body should know that you are working out.
#5 You let work and things get in the way
A change in your routine; at work or at home, the kids, problems in your relationship, and even starting a new job can make you regain weight. This could be as a result of change in your normal program. The work routine of 7- 5 can make you gain weight. A visitor that stays in your home for some days or the holiday season can get you off track and lead to weight gain.
#6 You do not get enough sleep
Browsing and catching up with friends at night and taking work home with you so you can continue from where you left off are weight gain triggers. A sleepless cycle can trigger hunger. You cruise the kitchen and fridge and end up eating just because you are awake. Catching up with friends and staying in tune with what is happening on social media is okay but not at the expense of your sleep.
#7 You stop striving
What you did yesterday will not sustain your weight loss if you stop doing it. You have to keep working out, keep eating right and keep being part of a support group wherever you are.
This was what helped Gift my highest weight loser in 2013. Gift lost weight from 93 kg to 60 kg in 5 months. When she gained admission into the Ebonyi State University, she relocated and stopped working out. She regained 10 kg after 3 months. I told her to find a gym and a trainer near her school and go back to eating right. She did and now she is still maintaining her weight at 59 kg for 3 years now.
#8 Junk creep
When you lose weight, it is tempting to sneak in some junk once in a while. If it becomes a regular sneak in, you are asking for trouble. Resist diet drinks. They are filled with empty calories that can trigger weight gain. If you have changed your healthy food and eating lifestyle because you have lost weight you will start regaining weight.
#9 Your body may change
You may realize that those things you did the last time and the fat just melted away might not be work this time. In fact your body might stubbornly hold on to the new fat because it is tired of you not making up your mind about your weight. Be patient with it. Do not do anything drastic. Rose did not go on a new fad diet, she learned how to eat right and portion control. The fat gradually started melting away again
#10 You are on medication
Contraceptives and some medication can lead to weight gain. If you are regaining weight, you may check if you have started taking a new medication and find out from your Doctor if that could be the cause. If it is, talk with him about finding better alternative.
As soon as you notice any weight creep, get back on track fast. Always catch the weight gain when it is still small. It will be easier for you to manage. As the weight increases, there might be lack of motivation and feeling of hopelessness.
Do the following:
- Learn to eat right – Stay off fad diets which may be one of the things that led you to regain weight. Learn to eat right, portion control and the right time to eat.
- Find support – Join a gym, find and exercise buddy, healthy fitness group. Exercise videos online will not do it all for you. Sometimes you need something physical, that you can touch to help you on your journey.