FFF 145: How To Avoid Weight Regain After A Diet – with Paul Salter

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Scott and Paul Salter talk about yo-yo dieting, weight loss, and weight management. Did you know that some people find it easy to lose weight but it’s keeping the weight off after a diet phase that is more challenging? Find out how you can tackle this dilemma in today’s episode.

Paul is a registered dietitian with a passion for helping men and women with a history of yo-yo dieting learn about changing their behaviours and mindset for losing weight and keeping it off.

Paul himself had a very late growth spurt. He has made a commitment to dedicate his personal studies and coaching style to help teach people what to do after the diet ends.

What is Yo-Yo Dieting?

Yo-yo dieting is characterized by periods of intentional weight loss and unintentional weight gain. A series of decisions, behaviors, and actions ultimately result in someone regaining the weight they lost.

This weight loss and gain could manifest month after month and year after year. The scale number goes down and up and down and up similar to literally playing a yo-yo.

What Causes Weight Regain

Most fad weight loss plans feature a 90-day plan but they don’t prepare you for Day 91 and beyond. The reason for weight regain is not having a plan for day 91 and beyond.

Generally, people are good at losing weight but it’s so much harder to maintain weight because you are met with an overwhelming mixture of emotions, including anxiety, guilt, frustration, disappointment, and stress.

Additionally, you’re trying couple that with trying to resume a sense of normalcy. When you embark on a weight loss phase, you’re more likely to adapt with some new behaviors that are not your norm.

Without a plan, you can’t clearly visualize what a successful weight maintenance phase looks like. When you don’t know what it means to reintegrate with their social circles around delicious food and alcohol, you could set yourself up for failure.

What to Do at the End of Your Diet

When you reach the end of your diet, begin by increasing your calories or macronutrients. When you hit that 10-12-week mark, you’re now burning significantly fewer calories per day since you’re eating fewer calories.

If you don’t increase your calories once you finish your diet phase, that hunger and those cravings are going to persist. And you could end up going off track in a short amount of time. By increasing your calories, you give your body just enough fuel to start sending your metabolism up in the right direction while reducing those strong feelings of hunger and cravings.

How Many Calories Should You Eat After the Diet

Within the first 12 weeks of finishing their most recent diet, they bring their calorie intake back up to at least 85% of what they were eating before they started their original diet.

For instance, if you’re eating 2,000 calories per day before the diet, and you get down to 1,200 calories at the end of your diet, you want to eat at least 1,700 calories per day. To get there, make a 15%-25% increase in calories every four to five weeks.

After a diet, your body is essentially primed for weight regain. You’re reducing an appetite-suppressing hormone called Leptin and increasing an appetite-stimulating hormone called Ghrelin.

When your body has undergone a period of intentional under eating and suddenly increase your calorie intake, your body tends to store those calories as fuel (in the form of fat) to protect itself from further stress, in this case, dieting. If you make too long of a calorie jump shortly after finishing a diet, you’re likely to also experience a significant backward or series of negative changes in your physique.

Post-Diet Weight Maintenance Phase

If you’re in great condition, you can diet for 10-14 weeks in total. Ultimately, before tackling another second diet phase, spend between 0.9 and 1.5 times the duration of your diet phase in a weight maintenance phase.

For example, if you diet for 12 weeks, spend 11-18 weeks in that maintenance phase before beginning your second diet. Your foundation of healthy eating revolves around portion control and tracking.

When Compliance Drops

It’s funny how diets are presented in bite-sized chunks – whether it’s a 60-day or 90-day program. This works in most people’s favor because it gives them this end date. But as soon as they break past that period, they no longer have concrete goals in front of them unless you teach them that. They don’t have a clear goal, they’re tired and burnt out from their previous routine. They’re affected both physiologically and psychologically.

Ultimately, flexibility and moderation are integral pieces of a sustainable foundation of healthy eating. Begin to make plans to intentionally enjoy a “free” meal. Learn how to indulge guilt-free!

How to Stay on Track

Cultivate your ideal vision of a successful weight maintenance phase. Have a clear gameplan of how often are you going to indulge or workout every week. This helps you define success on your own terms.

Narrow down your WHY. Try out this WHY exercise where you write down your WHY, which is an acronym for:

What are your current obstacles to sticking to your nutrition or exercise plan?

How will you overcome these obstacles?

You’re doing this for YOU! What would it mean for you to accomplish your goal?

Lastly, continued education is important. Be aware of what challenges you’re going to face.

What Happens When You’re Not Ready to Lose Weight

This all comes down to candid education. Paul would usually educate clients on the changes and adaptations that take place during a diet. So they can’t possibly continue to reduce food more and more because otherwise this will lead to yo-yo dieting.

Sustainable weight loss is related to someone’s mindset, attitudes, beliefs, and habits and behaviors. Paul facilitates his clients to focus on the behaviors and do this in the absence of calorie deficit as this is a major source of stress.

By removing diet-induced stress, you create an opportunity to better manage your new stress from having to make some lifestyle changes. This is done for at least 4-6 weeks. Once compliant, Paul levels this up by talking about the next step for achieving weight loss.

A lot of research that one of the major reasons people are successful at losing weight and keeping it off is they never stop self-monitoring behaviors like keeping a food log or weighing in regularly. Therefore, continue implementing the hunger-fighting strategies and preparation that allow you to be successful during the diet and after finishing a diet.

Highlights
  • What is yo-yo dieting?
  • What causes the unintentional weight regain
  • What to do at the end of your diet
  • How many calories should you eat after the diet
  • Post-diet weight maintenance phase
  • Why people fail to comply with weight management after diet
  • How to stay on track by knowing your WHY
  • When you’re not ready to lose weight
Quotes & Take-Aways

There’s not much out there to teach people what to do after the diet ends.

The number one reason that causes weight regain is not having a plan for Day 91 and beyond.

If you don’t increase your calories once you finish your diet phase, that hunger and those cravings are going to persist.

After a diet, your body is essentially primed for weight regain.

If you make too long of a calorie jump shortly after finishing a diet, you’re likely to also experience a significant backward or series of negative changes in your physique.

Your foundation of healthy eating revolves around portion control and tracking.

Flexibility and moderation are integral pieces of a sustainable foundation of healthy eating.

Thanks for listening and the support – if you enjoyed this episode, I hope you can leave the podcast a rating and review on iTunes, and if you haven’t subscribed yet, this is the best time to do that too. This will help the show to get up in the rankings.

Scott Baptie

Scott is the owner and founder of Food For Fitness. He is a fat loss coach, speaker and fitness writer with a masters (MSc) degree in Applied Sports Nutrition.