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6 Ways to Beat Biology and Keep the Weight Off For Good

October 12, 2015 3 min read

Losing weight feels good, but gaining it all back certainly doesn't. It's a common issue. In fact, a review from the University of California–Los Angeles found that of those who found success losing weight, about two-thirds regained everything they lost, plus extra, within four to five years.   “Your body undergoes various metabolic and hormonal changes after weight loss. These physiological changes can increase one’s appetite, slow metabolism and stimulate hunger, all of which can hinder weight-loss efforts,” explains New York City-based registered dietitian Rachel Stahl. “Specifically, a hormone known as leptin, which tells the brainthat you have enough energy stored, falls when people lose weight. When leptin falls, appetite increases and metabolism slows. At the same time, ghrelin, termed the ‘hunger hormone’ because it stimulates hunger, is increased after people have lost weight and can increase food intake and promote fat storage.” Essentially, your body isn't wired to lose weight, but to gain weight says Jeffrey Johnsrud, a bariatric surgeon and weight-loss specialist with St. Joseph Hospital in California. So when you shed pounds, your body goes into survival mode, as it thinks that food is in short supply, so your metabolism slows. While this may be totally disheartening for those weight loss goals you have in mind, it's important to keep in mind these tips to beat your biology and keep the weight off.

1.Pump Iron

“Diet helps people lose weight, but incorporating physical activity, especially resistance exercise, helps to maintain weight loss,” says registered dietitian Jennifer Christman, clinical nutrition manager for Medifast. “Building more muscle is a win-win situation."

2. Watch Your Weight

“People who have lost weight should weigh themselves once a week for the rest of their lives,” Johnsrud says. This is because being mindful of your weight proves that knowledge is power and ensures you stay on track. "If one or both start creeping up, take a close, honest look at your meal plan and exercise regimen,” Christman says. “Have you been struggling to make healthy choices? Are you drinking water? What about your exercise regimen? Are your current habits getting you closer or further away from your values?”

3. Seek Support

“Surround yourself with friends, family and colleagues who will support your efforts and with whom you can be completely honest about how you’re doing,”Stahl says.

4. Start a Journal

“Keeping a food journal can increase awareness of how, what and why you are eating,” Stahl says. “Monitoring what you eat and your physical activity has been shown to help not only with losing weight, but keeping it off. With advancements in technology, it is becoming easier to keep track of food intake and exercise. You can blog about it, photograph pictures of your meals or log updates in your smartphone. These strategies help identify trends that are responsible for any weight gain so that you can make any appropriate adjustments.”

5. Get More Sleep

Lack of sleep can throw off your levels of the hunger-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin, therefore promoting weight regain. The National Sleep Foundation suggests you get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

6. Be Mindful

“One of the biggest tips I emphasize with my patients to retain weight loss results is to practice mindful eating. Most people don’t think about this aspect, but it can be one of the most profound ways to transform one’s relationship with food for lasting success," Stahl says. "It’s important to pay careful attention to the two ‘Ws,’ the what and the why. What you’re eating and why you’re eating. This helps to not only enjoy and savour your food more, but prevent overeating.” Were these tips helpful? Source: US News  

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