What determines whether or not you regain the weight you lost or not? Maintenance Miniseries Part 2

weight regain maintenance

Mini-seres on “maintenance” part 2.

What often gets you somewhere, isn’t necessarily what keeps you there.

This is something that applies quite heavily to weight loss and the maintenance of weight loss/preventing weight regain.

When we think about weight loss there are generally two things that mostly drive whether or not people lose weight:

1) Can you lower your food intake from your current intake?

2) Can you increase your physical activity. For most people, reducing calorie intake is sufficient to induce pretty substantial weight loss?

Now what about weight maintenance? Well, it turns out that the physical activity piece, specifically your NEAT (the energy you expend outside of structured exercise) becomes substantially more important for weight maintenance.

For example, there have been several studies done on the participants from the Biggest Loser show. These studies followed these people for years after the show and tried to figure out why some people regained most of their weight and some people kept most of the weight off.

The biggest difference between those who maintained weight loss and those who did not was their physical activity level.

Weight Regain
The top chart shows resting and physical activity related energy expenditure during and after the Biggest Loser show. The bottom graph shows people who did or did not regain most of their weight loss and the difference in energy intake (food) and energy expenditure between the two groups.

In fact, most of the participants sustained a lower calorie intake, but if they did not sustain a higher level of physical activity, they likelihood of them staying at true maintenance was much, much, much lower.
Dieting is an important part of weight loss. Your physical activity is an important part of building habits that sustain weight loss (aka maintenance).

Preventing weight regain is often highly dependent on your ability to sustain a higher level of physical activity over extended periods of time.