Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Most people don’t plan to lose weight and then gain it all back after hitting a goal, but only about 5 to 10% of people who lose weight manage to keep it off long-term. Why do so many people find themselves regaining the pounds they worked so hard to lose, and how can you keep it from happening to you?
Some people find that they slowly regain lost weight because they begin to eat a little more and exercise a little less once they’ve achieved their initial goals. But even if you’re sticking with a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise, you may notice a few extra pounds. Many experts believe this is because your body is actively working to gain weight in order to maintain a “weight set point.”
In much the same way that your body works to keep your temperature within a set range, it also works to regulate how much you weigh. In order to keep your weight as close to your set point as possible, your body will adapt by burning fewer calories or increasing your appetite. As you gain weight, your set point increases. As you lose weight, you can also lower your set point, but it’s believed that lowering your set point is more difficult than raising it.
How can you change your set point? Lowering your set point takes time and gradual changes. Calculate your caloric needs for maintaining your weight. Slowly work your way toward that goal by increasing your daily calorie intake by 150 to 200 calories per week. Monitor your weight during this transition period and only increase your calories again when you notice that your body is able to maintain your current weight at your new calorie levels.