Why is it you can work your ass off for weeks on end to shed some weight—watching what you eat and spending every other evening in the gym—yet you have one relaxed weekend where you DGAF, eat all the cheesy carbs, and presto: all the weight comes back again.
It's a baffling concept. In the interest of fairness, weight should be just as hard to gain as it is to lose. But then we know lots of things in life aren't fair, and that's just the way it is. Still, our ever-curious minds want some insight into why it's the way it is, so we were interested to read News.com.au's chat with nutrition scientist, Dr. Tim Crowe, where he shed some light.
One reason we put on weight so easily is because of the hunger we're exposing ourselves to while we're dieting: "The influence of hunger on weight regain is three-times stronger than a slowing of metabolism. Add the two together it appears almost inevitable that the lost weight will creep back on again for most people," explained Dr. Crowe.
Basically, after dieting, we tend to overcompensate for the hunger we've endured by eating more, hence the weight gain. It's therefore advisable to avoid "starving" yourself when on a weight loss plan; eat as much as you need to feel satisfied, and make sure you're eating the right things to provide adequate nutrition.
Mindset has a lot to do with it, too. If we see a weight-loss plan as something we're either "on" or "off," the second it's over our first reaction is to binge and eat anything that's "off-plan"—so it's not surprising that we tend to gain weight pretty quickly.
That off-plan food becomes all the more desirable because we've restricted ourselves from being allowed to have it, which in turn lowers our willpower when making decisions about what we should eat following a strict diet.
So, what's the best way to combat quick weight gain after a diet? It's all in the plan you craft to lose weight in the first place. Don't restrict yourself too much, leaving yourself starving hungry and ready to devour just about anything in your path. If you teach yourself to have a healthier outlook in general, it'll soon become a way of life and therefore will be much easier to maintain the body you've worked so hard to achieve.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.