Hi. I want to talk a little today about something that really doesn’t get much attention despite it’s importance. I know it doesn’t get much attention because I talked to a very good, long-term client last week and she was more than a little distressed about it, which is something that made me feel pretty horrible for not covering. I want to talk about what to do and expect AFTER you’ve lost weight.
We so often focus on how to eat and train for weight loss that what to do and expect once you’ve achieved yout goal can get looked over. The thing though, as was pointed out to me last week, is that what happens afterward can be pretty distressing if you’re either not expecting it or if you don’t know what to do. In this article I’ll lay out a few things that you can expect and do to make sure that your hard won weight loss and improved health and well-being is maintained.
Let me get this out of the way first:
You should not be in a weight loss phase forever!
If you have been in a weight loss phase for several months with no end in sight there are only two reasons for it.
A. You had a lot of weight to lose. You are having good success but there’s still more to go. B. What you are doing isn’t working.
There is no option C.
If your answer is option A, then you have to realize that you need to step out of eating at a caloric deficit from time to time to reset your metabolism. If your answer is option B then you need to change what you’re doing. It’s that simple. But this article isn’t about that so now that we have that out of way let’s move on.
1. The first thing to know after you’ve stopped eating for weight loss is that you cannot go back to how you ate before, unless you want to gain all that weight back and then some. This is the reason why most people who lose weight wind up putting it all back on. They think they’re done and that’s it.
You have to understand a few things. First, that the reason you had weight to lose in the first place is because of the way you ate. Second, you now have a different body that needs less calories to maintain itself. You must eat accordingly. This is why it is so important to make your diet during the weight loss phase at least resemble a sustainable nutritional plan. It might not be exactly the same, but it shouldn’t be night and day either. This is why I generally don’t recommend liquid type diets unless you plan on drinking your breakfast and lunch for the rest of your life.
2. The rebound effect. Most effective weight loss diets have some manner of controlling carbohydrates as a big part of them. I won’t go into all the reasons why this is effective, but you do need to know two of the things that happen when you reduce your carbohydrate intake.
One is that your body doesn’t hold nearly as much water. Another is that your body doesn’t hold nearly as much glycogen (this is a substance that your body uses for energy. Water and glycogen do weigh something, so when you add carbs back in to your diet at even a moderate amount, and even if the carbs you are adding back in are very healthy, you will put some weight back on.
It is very important to realize that just because you’re putting weight on that doesn’t mean you are gaining back fat. It isn’t uncommon for someone coming off a low-carb diet to gain back 4-5 pounds once they introduce a moderate amount of carbs back into their body. This is something that can definitely freak people out a little, but just as every ounce you lose isn’t fat every ounce you gain isn’t fat, either. Don’t go crazy. It’s fine.
If you know that this is going to freak you out, here are a couple of suggestions. The first is to forget the scale for a while. Scale weight is not necessarily the best indicator of how a diet is going. It means something but not everything. In some cases it literally means nothing at all. Most people gain 4-5 pounds throughout the course of each day only to lose it as they sleep. Don’t believe me? Weigh yourself just before bed and then again the next morning just after you get up. Do you relly gain 5 lbs of fat every day and lose it by sleeping? No.
The second is to come off your diet slowly. Start by introducing additional carbs only after exercise for a week or so. Then add a few things little by little. Understand that you still can’t go back to how you ate before but by adding just a little here and there you’re giving your body time to adjust without reverting. Keep in mind what I mentioned previously about having your weight loss diet resemble your maintenance diet. You shouldn’t be so far off between the two that you have a tremendous amount of things to add in. For example no diet should contain much, if any, processed foods. Most diets, both weight loss and maintenance, should be based around lean protein, good fats and fruits and vegetables.
If you keep these things in mind then coming off your phase shouldn’t be too bad. Let me know if you have any questions or need help setting up a weight loss plan or finishing one up. Have a great day!
Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Lean Eating Coach Mitch Rothbardt Fitness at 2861 Grove Way Castro Valley’s Premier Fitness Facility I Help People Discover Their Strength 510-754-7113 www.MitchRFitness.com MitchRFitness@gmail.com http://www.Facebook.com/MitchRothbardtFitness http://fast-metabolism.com Boost Your Metabolism With My Free Report