How often have you been in a situation where, after a successful weight loss in a short span, you start gaining weight the moment you try to go back to your previous routine. This is called the “Yo-Yo effect”, where a person both loses and gains weight fast due to crash diets and extreme physical activity, followed by zero activity and trying to go back to the same routine.

Let us find the out the reasons why it is difficult to maintain weight

Crash diet

A crash diet is followed mostly to achieve rapid weight loss. There are different kinds of crash diets, like having a single-food diet for all meals like the soup diet, salad diet, juice diet, egg diet, chicken diet, and cabbage diet. Such diets result in a drastic reduction of calories to achieve weight loss within 4-6 weeks. These diets cannot be followed for a long time, and they tend to result in strong cravings for sweets and fried items, and turning back to your previous routine, which in turn, leads to weight gain once again.

Extreme exercise with no dietary modification

Physical activity for a minimum of 150 minutes per week can help in achieving healthy weight loss. Studies show that a person doing physical activity for more than 60 minutes a day with 700 calories of energy expenditure, can achieve more than 7kg weight loss in 3 months. However, if no dietary modification is practiced, weight maintenance becomes difficult with even a slight reduction in physical activity.

Increase in calorie intake

Studies have shown that with each kilogram decrease in weight, the calorie burn reduces by 20-30 KCal/day. There is also an increase in appetite with weight loss. This may lead to a subconscious bias for portion size, with a slow increase in energy intake by 20-30% per day. This will further make maintaining one’s weight difficult.

Behavioral changes

Achieving rapid weight loss can give a feeling that you can do anything, and it will not lead to weight gain. People tend to go back to the routine by eating high-calorie food, and minimal physical activity. Naturally, they end up going back to the same weight. On gaining the lost weight back, stress levels increase, accompanied with a feeling of guilt and low self-esteem. Therefore, permanent lifestyle modification becomes very important; a combination of dietary intervention and physical activity.

Lack of sleep

Sleep duration and quality play an important role in weight maintenance. As per a study presented by the European Congress on Obesity, longer sleep duration with adequate deep sleep has helped in maintaining weight. The study showed an increase in BMI by 1.3 for people who sleep for less than six hours, compared to individuals who slept for more than six hours. Poor quality of sleep increases the risk of high BP, high cholesterol, and fatty deposits building in the arteries.

In addition, there are some genetic and hormonal factors that also cause challenges in maintaining weight. Despite being a difficult task, weight maintenance with lifestyle modification is possible. All it requires is long-term consistency to stick to diet, physical activity, and behavioral changes.

Good Nutrition

Clinical Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator

Nidhi Makharia Agarwal is a qualified nutritionist and dietitian, as well as a certified Diabetes educator, with 12+ years of experience in the field of nutrition. She has worked in various nutraceutical companies and also as a nutrition writer and practicing nutritionist. Nidhi started her training as an intern with the Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital and the Wadia Children Hospital in Mumbai. She has worked with a leading Indian nutraceutical company for 8 years. Currently, Nidhi has her own venture; The Aahar Clinic for healthy living, which she founded in 2018. She has also lent her expertise as a nutrition counsellor to a diabetes project co-initiated by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and Indian Dietetic Association. Additionally, she works with food and nutrition start-ups as a nutrition consultant. Nidhi holds a Master’s degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics. She is also a certified diabetes educator. Nidhi is based in Mumbai.