It is infuriating to go to pull up your jeans and realize that you cannot close the button comfortably. It is doubly disappointing when this happens, and you realize that you have regained all the weight you worked so hard to lose. You want to rage and call yourself a pig. Resist that urge. Many people gain back the weight they lost. Some people gain it back because they stop paying attention to their eating and exercising habits once the weight is gone. Others took part in a dangerous diet and did serious damage to their bodies. If you want to lose the weight again and keep it off this time, you need to make it a point to lose weight in a healthy manner. You also need to seriously evaluate what worked and did not work when you lost the weight the first time. Here is what to do if you regained the weight you worked so hard to lose.
Forgive YourselfIt is disappointing and frustrating to be back at square one, especially when you worked hard to lose weight. Glaring at the jeans that do not fit anymore or bemoaning your flabby stomach will not make the extra weight go away. If it did, losing weight would be a cinch. Cursing yourself will not make the weight go away either. All it will do is leave you miserable or irritable. Neither is a good mindset for getting your motivation back. Frustrated with yourself though you may be, you have to forgive yourself if you want to lose the weight again. You have to accept that you made some mistakes, and now you need to re-lose the weight. Take a deep breath. You have proof that you can do this. You lost the weight once. You can lose it again.
Why It Came BackYou have gained your weight back. Why? Did you start ordering pizza every other night? Did you remember exactly how much you loved chocolate ice cream? Did you start justifying having that extra serving of whipped cream on your morning coffee? Did you stop going to the gym? Did you lose weight specifically for an event and then stop paying attention to your habits when it was over?
Weight does not just appear on a person. It creeps up slowly, and it has to come from somewhere. If you have gained weight back, you need to think about where that new weight came from. You cannot correct the problem until you recognize the problem. If you ate poorly, you need to swap sugar for fruits and chips for carrots. If you stopped exercising, you need to renew your gym membership. If you went on a starvation diet, you need to understand how badly you damaged your body and metabolism. An appointment with a doctor is the best bet in that case.
Evaluate Your Old MethodsIf you have regained the weight you worked so hard to lose, the odds are good you want to get rid of it again. In this case, you need to think about how you lost that weight the first time. Did the pounds seem to just melt effortlessly off your body, or was each ounce a struggle to shed? This will help you know what to expect as you work to re-lose the weight.
Think about what your mental state was like when you dieted last time. Did you feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day that you stuck to your plan? Did you adjust to your new routine, and after a brief drop, did your energy levels return to normal if not higher levels? This is what should happen when you lose weight in a healthy manner. You will be tired or have low energy for a short period as your body adjusts to burning more calories than you ingest. When you lose weight in a healthy manner, however, you are not running a massive calorie deficiency. Running a caloric deficit of just two or three hundred calories is more than enough to lose weight at a reasonable rate, but it should not leave you feeling run down and sluggish after you adjust.
If you lost weight at a rate of more than two pounds a week or spent your whole time dieting feeling fuzzy headed and tired, you need to change how you lose weight. Losing too much weight too quickly will send your body into starvation mode and can irreversibly damage your metabolism. This makes it almost impossible to keep your weight from creeping back up. This is a common problem with fad diets or diets that promise to help you lose ten pounds in a week by drinking special milkshakes. Losing so much weight so quickly makes the body believe that there is a famine, and you are starving. As such, your metabolism plummets as your body does everything possible to stretch the meager fuel it has to survive the famine. Your body is an incredible machine meant to keep you alive in the harshest conditions. It cannot, however, tell the difference between a sudden plague of locusts that ate all the crops and left the tribe starving and the stubborn soul who is subsisting on “craving crusher shakes” because they want to impress their crush at the pool party on Memorial Day.
As well as looking at your eating habits, you need to think about your exercise habits. While working out every day for an hour will definitely help you lose weight, it is unlikely you want to spend that much time in the gym for the rest of your life. Start a workout routine you can keep up with even after you have lost the weight. Working out three to four days a week for thirty minutes is reasonable for most people. Combine that with sustainable eating changes such as only eating sweets on special occasions and trading soda for tea, and you will be able to keep the weight off once you lose it.
Make a PlanOnce you know what went wrong and what to avoid, make a plan for losing this last round of weight. Think about what you can reasonably handle in your life, and choose a reasonable timeframe. Do not expect to be able to stick hard and fast to your plan every day. Build in some time for backsliding and for extenuating circumstances. If you have a crazy week at work, you may not get to the gym as often. If your friend’s birthday is coming up, expect to join the rest of the party in eating cake and drinking beer. Make sure your plan is a healthy plan as well. It can be tempting to lose weight quickly and then try to “fix” your metabolism later. This is not how the body works. You need to accept slower weight loss, and keep your body healthy. Eat good, natural meals instead of heavily processed foods. Drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. Share your plan in some way, whether that means talking with your spouse or writing it down and hanging it above your bed. If your plan for losing weight is just floating around inside your head, it is easy for it to be repeatedly tweaked to allow for just one more glass of wine or ordering pizza, just this once.
Prepare For Lifestyle ChangesIf you want to keep the weight off once you lose it, you will likely need to make some lifestyle changes. These could be cooking more often instead of living off take-out, or getting up an hour earlier so you can go for a run before work. Make whatever changes you need to in order to continue living a healthy lifestyle even after the weight is gone. If you need to sleep in a separate room from your spouse, start the process of changing rooms as you are dieting. If you want to cook more often, get in the habit of stopping at the grocery store after work. Do not wait to make changes until after you lose the weight. While you are trying to make the lifestyle changes necessary to keep the weight off, it will start creeping back up on you, and soon, you will be right back where you started.
Gaining weight back is frustrating, but there is no reason you cannot lose it again. Make it a point to lose weight in a healthy manner, and make some lifestyle changes. Work your plan, and treat your body right. Do that, and you should fit back in those black jeans in no time.