Combating Weight Regain


Combating weight regain, is something I deal with a lot in my line of work. It is one of the top concerns that people have in regards to their health and wellness. As most people have experienced it can be easy to lose weight but maintaining it can be extremely difficult.

Combining both diet and exercise as part of a weight loss regime is the most effective way to lose weight. A lot of people resort to extreme dieting methods to lose weight. This includes the use of bariatric surgery (lap bands) is also used as a more drastic way to induce weight loss. What is interesting about weight regain is that only a small percentage of people are immune from its grips.

Weight regain occurs in people who have undergone bariatric surgery as well. A Study has shown that approximately 50% of patients who have undergone a lap band or gastric bypass experience weight regain 24months post surgery. Rates are much higher for those who started with a BMI of 50+. This is really quite scary because procedures such as this cause severe restrictive eating. It is often a misconception that these extreme measures will solve weight related problems indefinitely, but it doesn’t in all cases.

Why does weight regain occur?

The reason weight regain occurs is not because of an inherit personality flaw. Let’s be clear you are not a failure or less of a person because of this. Research has shown that the factors that cause weight regain in both surgical and non-surgical weight losers are many and varied. Some of which include:  a history of weight cycling, hormonal changes, medications, disinhibited eating, binge eating, hunger, emotional eating, stress, environmental factors, lack of food availability and urbanisation.  That’s a lot of factors that are almost completely out of our control.

More importantly let’s look at how people succeed at weight loss. The National weight registry is a study that observes the behaviours of people who have lost a minimum of 30kg over 5 years and kept it off. According to the National weight registry successful weight losers combat weight regain and keep weight off by the following:

* 75% weigh themselves once per week or track themselves in some way like keep a food diary.

* 62% watch <10hrs TV per week.

* 90% exercise for 1hr per day.

* 98% modified food.

* 94% increased physical activity.

Women ate 1200kcal per day, men ate 1600kcal per day and spent 380kcal on exercise daily and had little weekend, weekday or holiday variability in dietary patterns.

Thinking back to some of my own eating behaviours, it’s the weekends where things get very messy. Breakfast out, BBQ for lunch, cake after dinner, blah blah it adds up and soon enough you have more than eaten your way through the weekend!

As you can see long-term weight loss is more so about gaining positive lifestyle behaviours and getting into routine. This totally opposes the view that some people are successful weight losers due to personality traits. Next time you feel like a failure because you have no willpower or feel you are not “strong enough to say no”, stop berating yourself and get logical. Log your TV time, put your sneakers on start walking and buy some veggies to eat. Weight regain is not a judgment of your character; it’s a reflection of your lifestyle.


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