Human nature is to seek the greatest and most immediate reward, while putting forth the least amount of effort. Therefore, when setting out to lose weight, people focus on the instant gratification of seeing their weight drop and feeling their clothes loosen.
Rarely however do they focus on the long term maintenance of their new, svelte physiques. Unfortunately, this leads to the frustrating and seemingly endless cycle of yo-yo dieting. There are indeed valid biological reasons behind the struggle to maintain one’s ideal weight, so let’s explore these and how they can be overcome.
- Shedding weight too quickly: While losing weight rapidly can be motivating, it isn’t a long term solution. Rapid weight loss doesn’t give the body time to adjust hormonally and metabolically, making weight maintenance challenging, if not impossible. It’s important to recognize that weight gain didn’t occur overnight, nor should weight loss. A healthy goal to strive for is a one to two pound per week loss.
- Metabolic changes: The human body is programmed to adapt to scarcity, so decreased food consumption signals the metabolism to slow down to run more efficiently on less fuel. This metabolic slowdown can cause weight to return very quickly if one resumes their former dietary habits. In order to combat the body’s natural tendency for metabolic slowing it is essential to make lasting lifestyle changes, including both diet and exercise.
- Extreme caloric restriction: The desire for instant results can influence people to partake in overly restrictive diets. This is a recipe for self sabotage, as the body becomes accustomed to inadequate calorie intake and resuming a normal diet results in the return of unwanted pounds. This is why it’s so important to consume a daily amount of calories that can be realistically sustained over time.
- Over exercising: Exercise, although healthy in moderation, can be detrimental if taken to extremes. When trying to lose weight, people may attempt to compensate for their dietary slip ups with excessive exercise. This attempt to counterbalance caloric intake with extreme cardio is a form of bulimia and is neither sustainable nor healthy. Once the body tires of keeping up with these unrealistic levels of exercise, weight is sure to return. While moderate exercise is key to maintaining weight, extreme exercise shouldn’t be seen as a free pass to overindulge.
When deciding to lose weight, the focus should be on long term changes to lifestyle, behavior, and diet rather than instant results. Medifast Weight Control Centers offer a highly supportive and structured maintenance program to educate clients about maintaining their weight by practicing good eating habits and making necessary lifestyle changes.