So, you’re going on a diet…
You can’t wait to finally lose the weight you’ve wanted to for so long, but…
You’re worried you’re going to gain it right back. After all, it’s happened before, right?
While losing weight is definitely challenging, keeping it off may be even more difficult.
In fact, by some estimates, 80 percent of people who successfully lose at least 10 percent of their body weight will gradually regain it to end up as large or even larger than they were before they went on a diet.
Just look at the show, The Biggest Loser, where the contestants had massive weight loss victories… yet, it’s been reported that most have gained back much, if not all, of the weight they lost. And, some are even heavier now.
But, why is it that regaining the weight you lose is so easy? Let me explain… because once you understand, it makes the secret to keeping the weight off that much easier!
Metabolism facts and hunger hormones
Despite spending billions of dollars on weight-loss drugs and dieting programs, even the most motivated of dieters are working against their own biology. That’s because there are a number of physiological factors that come into play that cause you to gain back those lost pounds.
The first is your metabolism. A team of researchers looked into this phenomenon when it came to those Biggest Loser contestants and here’s what they found.
When you diet, your metabolism slows, so you burn fewer calories at rest when your diet ends than when you started. This means that in order to maintain your weight loss, you have to eat less than you normally would for your weight.
And, a slower metabolism isn’t the only issue.
You see, when you diet, the levels of leptin (an appetite suppressing hormone) in your body plummet. In fact, the researchers studying The Biggest Loser contestants found that by the season’s finale, contestants had almost no leptin at all, which would have made them ravenous all the time.
Even worse, as their weight returned, their leptin levels drifted up again, but only to about half of what they had been when the season began.
In other words, your body puts multiple mechanisms in place to get you back to your pre-diet weight.
What can you do?
Luckily, there is hope…
According to a new study, if you’re planning to lose weight by eating a diet that is lower in calories, you can preserve your metabolism by doing high intensity interval training or HIIT so that you can overcome one of the big barriers to keeping the weight off.
You see, one of the major problems when you restrict calories on a diet is that you lose muscle mass, which is why your metabolism slows down. HIIT exercise can help your preserve this muscle mass to keep your metabolism running strong.
So, what is HIIT and how do you do it?
HIIT is a process where you perform near maximal exercise for a short period of time, followed by a period of active recovery (in other words, your still moving but slower).
To do a HIIT workout, you can use an elliptical machine, stationary bike, treadmill, jump rope, do body weight exercise or any number of other variations. The key is to give an all-out effort followed by easier activity.
Here’s a sample workout for use on an elliptical:
- Warm up for 3 minutes (or until sufficient).
- Increase resistance and/or incline to a difficult level and go full-force for 20-30 seconds.
- Knock the resistance and/or incline down to an easy level for 60-90 seconds while catching your breath.
- (Aim for 10x through, if possible. If not, do what you are capable of and build up to 10x)
So, if you’re ready to start your diet, don’t forget to add in a HIIT workout to your routine to preserve your metabolism and prevent the dreaded post-diet weight gain.
Editor’s note: Being healthy shouldn’t be complicated or consume your every waking moment. That’s why Dr. Michael Cutler decided to cut through the confusion and clutter of fitness crazes in his new guide, The Part-time Health Nut: Attain you best health ever without extreme diets, dangerous pills and brutal workouts. Click the link for a preview!
- How Your Appetite Can Sabotage Weight Loss — WebMD
- After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight — The New York Times
- Dieting combined with high-intensity exercise helpful in reducing risk of weight regain, study finds — University of Alabama at Birmingham