Benji Tucker

September 23, 2022 3 Min Read

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Why You Put Every Pound Back on after Dieting 

If you're reading this article, than you have probably lost weight successfully in the past but have been shocked to see the weight on scale effortlessly go up every day since. Getty Images

Studies consistently show that 85-95% of people who lose weight gain ALL of it back. How is this even possible? And should you even bother to lose weight if you're ultimately doomed to fail like everyone else? 

Most people who are dieting have no clue what they are doing. The typical “yo-yo” dieter will lose 10 pounds in a short time by starving himself and blasting away at cardio, be happy with the results, and then gain it all back for a seemingly unknown reason. Because the dieter believes that over-restricting calories and cardio gives them results, they will repeat this same process over and over, making them a “yo-yo” dieter. 


So back to the question of how this even happens. The answer to this is quite simple: most dieters have no clue what they’re doing. Oftentimes, the temporary solution is ACTUALLY the problem that is plaguing the dieter in the long-term. 


One of the main things that can be attributed to gaining all of the weight back after a diet is metabolic adaptation. Never heard of it? Unfortunately, most haven’t and it’s very likely the reason that you and everyone else ends up right where they left off following a diet. Metabolic adaptation is the various responses your body uses to combat dieting efforts. As a result, your metabolism actually SLOWS DOWN. This is counteractive to your dieting efforts and exactly what you want to avoid. 


When dieters over-restrict calories and quickly lose weight, their metabolism adapts too quickly eventually leading to a plateau in weight loss. To avoid this, most dieters should seek to lose 1-2 pounds a week. Slow and steady always wins the race. 


Another reason one’s metabolism adapts too quickly is because they are focusing way TOO MUCH on cardio. Cardio is great for heart health, but is inefficient to rely on for weight loss. It may seem like the weight loss benefits from cardio are great in the beginning, but it actually makes your metabolism WORSE while resting. Your metabolism becomes more efficient ONLY while doing cardio meaning you would have to do so much cardio to keep losing weight that you won’t have a life. In other words, it is completely unsustainable. 


Another fact many people don’t realize is that muscle BURNS 3-5X MORE CALORIES than fat. When one is rapidly losing weight from a starvation diet and cardio, building and preserving muscle becomes an afterthought. Instead of killing yourself during a diet, focus on resistance training (lifting weights) in the gym and eating more protein to build/preserve muscle. This will keep your metabolism revved while you cut down weight. 


The second thing that contributes to gaining all of the weight back after dieting is a rapid surge in appetite that occurs as a natural response to eating less. When you lose fat and muscle, your body experiences a boost in the hunger hormone and a decrease in the satiety hormone. The result of this is that the weight you lost slowly starts to creep back up because you just cannot help but eat a little more with how hungry you are. 


Many people who drop weight rapidly are not at all aware of basic nutritional principles and this destroys them once they end their extreme calorie-restricted diet and become hungrier as a result of losing weight. To combat this, practicing good nutritional principles DURING and AFTER dieting is your best bet. As discussed before, aim to lose one to two pounds a week. Do this by restricting calories by a mere 300-500 calories a day and being more active throughout the day. This in itself will prevent extreme hunger following a diet. 


Some people report that they have tried everything and they are still just too hungry. To combat hunger and stay fuller, focus on eating more protein (up to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight), and eating 3-4 cups of fruits and veggies a day for more fiber. Don’t over-restrict carbs. Try spacing your meals out more and focus on the portion size of each meal. And definitely be sure to stay hydrated. 


In summary, you are not doomed to fail on your weight loss journey like everyone else. If everyone adhered to this science-based advice, the number of dieters who gain all of their weight back would be closer to 0%.

Follow this article's tips next time you diet and you can be sure of longer-term success!

If you like what you’ve read here and want to explore other ways we at Generation Fit can help you on your fitness journey, feel free to contact us.

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About The Author

Benji Tucker is the co-founder of Generation fit. When he's not busy making a change in his clients' lives, you can catch him doing photography, reading about history, and playing soccer.

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