Depending on the source, within one year of weight loss, 50–70% of people will have regained all the weight. This makes sense considering how most people try losing weight — juice cleanses, keto, detoxes, fasting for 5 years straight because someone said something about autophagy or some such crap.
Let’s assume that you lose weight in a sustainable way — a small to moderate calorie deficit, higher protein intake, more fruits and veggies, weight lifting, and yadda yadda yadda. How do you then transition to weight maintenance?
Here are four pieces of advice that will help you avoid weight regain after dieting:
1. Be okay with being a little hungry
Leptin is one of the most important hormones when it comes to weight regulation because it decreases the urge to eat. And for reasons I can’t be bothered to explain, as you get into a calorie deficit and lose weight, leptin levels drop. This increases hunger.
Conversely, as you increase your calorie intake, leptin levels increase. This means less hunger. Let’s not alert the media about that just yet because there is a problem: After an extended period of dieting, it takes at least 1–2 weeks of eating at maintenance to increase leptin levels (to some degree).
So you have to be ready for some hunger even during maintenance. The leaner you get, the longer it will take to reverse the downregulation of leptin.
From my experience working with clients, you should get back to normal in about four weeks. Or more. Dunno. The point is you need to eat more fiber- and protein-rich foods, voluminous foods too(fruits and veggies), and drink enough water to manage hunger a bit better.
2. Get back to maintenance calorie intake as quickly as possible
You might have heard the term “reverse dieting” floating around the fitness realm. If you haven’t, please know that it’s not some sort of an impressive architecture thing but rather, a strategy of dieting where calories are increased in a controlled manner over time: