5 Reasons You Keep Regaining Weight and How to Stop It

Christian Coulson
Updated: June 14, 2020
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If you’ve lost weight just to find yourself even heavier a few months later, don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

When I first went from 174 to 152 lb I was excited, I felt accomplished and confident.

I mean, who wouldn’t?

When I lost the weight, I thought, “man, that was challenging, but the worst part is over.”

Oh boy, young Christian had no idea what was waiting for him after the diet was over.

Image of my weight regain.

Month after month I started gaining a few pounds, but since the increment was so little, it was easy to take for granted.

Several months later, I was even heavier than I was before the diet.

This issue of gaining back weight is not uncommon at all.

In fact, studies (1) have shown that 70% of people who lose weight gain it back within a year, 85% gain it within 2 years, and 95% gain it within 3 years.

They also showed that 1/3 to 2/3 of those who regain the weight will gain even more weight than they had before the diet.

In this article, we’ll go over 5 reasons you keep regaining weight and how to stop it.

1. Hormonal Alterations

First, you must understand that your body loves being in a state where it feels comfortable and balanced.

During weight loss, when you eat less food than you normally do (calorie deficit), you take your body out of that state.

Your body then tries to restore balance by increasing hunger and reducing your feeling of fullness.

This is achieved by changes in the hormones ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin is the hormone that tells your brain that you’re hungry, and increases during weight loss.

Leptin acts in opposition to ghrelin, it is in charge of reducing hunger, however, this hormone decreases during weight loss. (1)

What to Do

When you finish a weight loss diet, chances are your hormones have been altered, and it will take some time for them to get back to normal.

That’s why it’s important that you learn how to eat so you can keep eating healthy long after the diet’s over, let your hormones get back to normal, and prevent regaining weight.

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2. No Change in Eating Habits

People often regain weight because their eating habits never changed. They typically jump on FAD diets that promise quick, but short-term results.

These diets fail to educate them on the basics of nutrition and leave their metabolisms in a bad spot.

This leads to increased cravings and hunger, an unhealthy relationship with food, and no knowledge of what to do after the diet is over, which makes regaining weight much easier.

What to Do

Instead of going for quick-fixes, focus on learning the basics of nutrition so that you can build a lifestyle and diet that are sustainable for you.

Spending some time learning about nutrition and your body will sure save you time in the long-run.

Remember, your health is an investment, not an expense.

I recommend you explore the 80/20 rule for weight loss.

3. Creation of New Fat Cells

Image showing how cells react when losing weight too fast and gaining it back. (hyperplasia)

Studies (2) have shown that metabolic conditions during early weight regain may promote the creation of new fat cells.

They suggest that the creation of these fat cells is likely permanent and that it might be one of the reasons people gain more weight than they had before losing weight.

What to Do

Whenever you finish dieting, don’t just jump back to your old eating habits and increase your calories drastically.

Instead, focus on slowly increasing your calories and keep eating healthy.

I go into more detail about this in my article called “Metabolic Adaptations to Weight Loss.

4. No Change in Mindset

It’s normal to want to focus on food and exercise during weight loss; however, you shouldn’t take for granted the power of your mind.

Almost everyone who has been able to achieve greatness did so because they believed they could.

If you believe you won’t be able to lose weight, you’ve condemned yourself before even starting. Work on your mindset and building positive thoughts.

Here are 6 mindsets to avoid if you want to lose weight.

5. Slower Metabolism

As previously mentioned, your body loves being in a state of equilibrium.

When you eat less than you normally do, your body will slow your metabolism to bring back that state of equilibrium.

During weight loss, your body becomes more efficient at extracting calories from foods (you can be getting more calories from the foods you eat) and burns fewer calories during activity to preserve energy.

People regain weight because they tend to jump back to their old eating habits and increase their calories quickly after the diet is over.

Since your metabolism is slow, you’ll start storing fat very quickly, which is why people tend to regain the weight.

People often believe that the leaner they get, the faster their metabolism, however, the opposite is true.

What to Do

Just like your hormones, it’ll take some time for your metabolism to come back to normal after the diet is over.

After you’re done losing weight, slowly increase your calories back to maintenance (the number of calories you need to eat to maintain your weight).

I hope you loved this article about 5 reasons you keep regaining weight and how to stop it!

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