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Why you can’t lose fat and keep it off

Posted by: Patrick Catanzariti on February 11, 2016

why you cant lose fat

The problem with most people I know (especially women) is that many have had some success with losing weight in the past but can never seem to keep it off long term. Most people will crash diet quickly and then either end up giving up or once they get to where they want to be, return back to their regular eating which will eventually bring them right back to where they started. This common scenario that most women go through is one that is setting you up for failure.

Research shows 85% of people that lose weight will put it back on within a year. Yes you read that right… that is the statistics, which clearly shows that people are simply doing it wrong. Most of that 85% will actually put the weight back on in less than 6 months.

Why doesn’t it work?

Losing weight will affect the body in ways that most people do not realise such as affecting our hormones but also by affecting our metabolism. As you lose weight your body is slowly adapting itself to burn less and less calories a day as time goes on, so after losing weight you are basically in a position where fat gain is very easy. This is exactly why the 85% of people that lose weight will regain it. In general, the lower you take your calories and the more drastic approach you take, the more you will be burning out your metabolism and setting yourself up for fat regain.

What can you do?

‘Reverse dieting’ is something that I have learned to use in recent years to really help me stay in shape, have a healthy metabolism eating a lot of nutritious foods.

It is, exactly what it sounds like, the opposite of dieting, which involves increasing your food intake slowly over time. The reason for doing this slowly is to give your body time to get the metabolism firing faster and faster so you can maintain your fat loss. This does take some patience but it will end you having to diet over and over again.

To illustrate the above I have included a client example below.

Dieting phase

-Judy starting weight 75kg

-Judy goal weight 65kg

-Judy starting calories per day 2100 for fat loss plan.

Every few weeks I would drop her calories by 100 to keep fat loss at approx 1kg per week and after 10 weeks she had reached 65kg and was now eating 1400 calories per day. At this point Judy was happy with her results but needed a new approach so she didn’t end up back at 75kg a few months later.

Reverse dieting phase

-Judy started the following week at 1400 calories (+100 calories)

-Each week I would increase this by 50-100 depending on how she responded

-After 7 weeks of this she was feeling great eating 2000 calories a day and still maintaining her 65kg.

-6 months later she is still maintaining all of her fat loss results while enjoying a very flexible diet plan.

Why did the reverse dieting work?

Unlike the 85% of people who regain the weight they lost, Judy gave her body time to reverse diet after her dieting phase and thus not setting herself up for fat regain. Her body began to burn up more and more calories per day from slowly increasing food (increasing her metabolism).

The key end result with any diet is that you CAN maintain this new bodyweight in a sustainable and healthy way. Often people have trouble with this and blame their genetics when in fact it is a lack of knowledge of how nutrition and the human body work. Even if you do not track your calories like the example above, you can still use common sense with portion sizes in using this method to help you maintain your fat loss.



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    1. sarah says:

      that was the best article i have ever read! thank you

      1. Rosie Lane says:

        Wow! That’s great to hear Sarah!
        What did you like most about it?

    2. RJ says:

      This article has really resinated with me. For the last 3 years I have been keeping a food diary and calorie counting every single item of food, drink, exercise and activity. When I first started on the 1200 calorie/pd plan I lost weight and I continued the lost until maintaining it for approximately 8 months. All the while smashing it at the gym burning more than 400 calories every day. I got addicted. Until the festive season, where eating out and drinking more than usual was unavoidable. And very quickly I put on the weight again. 🙁 This has made me depressed about my weight/image. Another year of struggling has passed and this year over the Christmas period, despite watching what I eat and exercising, I have managed to pack on over 9kgs!! Devastation and Desperation has hit and now I’m crash dieting again to lose the kgs and get back to the leaner me. My biggest concern with all this dieting, calorie counting is that there must be certain foods I eat that just don’t work for me, even if they are healthy, but I can’t work out what they are. For example last week I had an average intake of 1170 Calories per day, 2373 Calories output of combined metabolism and exercise and I gained 2.5kgs! How does that work!?!? Your Reverse dieting plan seems to make sense to me , but can you recommend who I can speak to/see regarding a nutrition/diet plan and find out what foods work for my body. I am very frustrated and down about the whole ordeal!
      Thank you. Love your blog.

      1. Meg mcaulay says:

        Hey RJ, I am sorry to hear that you have been having so much trouble! You must be so frustrated. I would strongly recommend seeing your GP in collaboration with a nutritionist or dietician, there is no one diet that works for everyone so you need to speak to someone who can assess your needs individually. Let us know how you go!

    3. Judith says:

      Hi there,
      This is quite an enlightening article (and haha, my name is Judith, so can relate! She’s even the current stat I’m at AND my goal weight!)
      I like the fact that you mention after the initial weight loss, instead of fearing weight gain, with a gradual increase in calories, and seeing how that goes, you can maintain the weight loss even though you will be back to eating at a similar calorie rate prior to the loss.
      Is this something that is better organised with a nutritionist or are there useful online plans that I might be able to use to help develop to me individually?

      1. Meg mcaulay says:

        Hi Judith! It seems like this one was written with you in mind! The author of this article, Miss K creates these nutrition and training plans: you can also contact her directly [email protected] – I hope that helps.

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