Weight Regain: Why It Happens and What To Do About It

Written by: Holly Smith, M.D.,

B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Written by: Holly Smith, M.D.,

B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

weight regain

Has your weight fluctuated over the years? Is it hard to stay on track and motivated? Ever lose weight only to deal with weight regain months later?

It happens to the best of us.

After months of hard workouts and following a healthy diet you finally reached your weight loss goal!

However, after getting to that finish line you slowly start noticing the numbers going up on the scale.

Don't get down on yourself!

There are a number of reasons why weight regain happens, and there are ways you can quickly get back on track.

The trick is to figure out what is causing you to put the pounds back on, and then take steps to reclaim your fitness.

Here's what you need to know about weight regain.

Check out these 5 tips for keeping weight off after weight loss!

Why Weight Regain Happens

Loss of Motivation

It’s easy to be motivated at the beginning of a weight loss journey.

Most women will sit down and write up a plan that includes their workouts and nutrition with a clear achievement in mind.

And as the pounds melt away, this creates a positive feedback loop that pushes you even more towards these goals.

However, as you get closer to your goal weight and hit a weight loss plateau, this motivation starts to wane.

And then, when you finally reach your objective, you feel like there isn’t anything else left to do.

Losing this drive is what causes many women to regain the weight.

So what can you do to overcome this loss of motivation?

One of the best things you can do is find the right motivation and create new goals that aren’t necessarily weight-related, but will still allow you to maintain a high level of fitness.

These can be both performance-related or health-related goals.

Examples include:

Body Composition

Your body composition, specifically body fat percentage, may be more important than your overall weight.

So instead of only focusing solely on the scale, you can start monitoring your body fat percentage.

Body composition plays a huge role in your overall health.

Adding lean muscle mass through resistance training and a high-quality diet can help get you to a goal body fat percentage.

Health Markers

Keeping an eye on specific health markers will also keep you on track.

This includes monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels.

Maintaining a healthy weight will go a long way in keeping these biomarkers at an ideal level.

Meet Heart RX. The Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, and Healthy Circulation Support For Women 40+

Heart RX is for women who are taking (or have taken) medication for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Heart RX will provide you with the natural support to improve all aspects of your heart health – including: blood pressure, healthy cholesterol, and better circulation.

Weight Lifting/Resistance Training Goals

Once you reach your goal weight, you can start focusing more on performance goals.

For example, you can try improving certain weight lifting objectives, like hitting a bench press or squat PR.

You can also try to increase reps of specific exercises, or make it a goal to get to the gym at least three times a week.

By focusing your attention on improving your overall fitness, the pounds will naturally melt away.

Endurance Goals

During your weight loss plan, you may have picked up on some new activities that you really enjoy.

If you love running, sign up for a 5K and aim for a goal time.

Or you could join a master's swim group and enter into some swim meets.

These types of activities will not only keep you motivated but will surround you with people that have similar goals.

Lack of Support

Speaking of surrounding yourself with like-minded, goal-driven people, a lack of support is another reason a lot of women tend to regain weight.

Studies have found that both men and women are more likely to make a positive health behavior change if their partner does.

This means that involving your partner in healthy behavior changes can help you both improve your health.

Plus, research shows that having a workout buddy can actually make you both exercise more.

In one study, researchers at the University of Aberdeen asked half of the study participants to find a new ‘gym buddy' while the other half continued with their normal exercise routine.

The results showed that the group who found a new exercise partner exercised more than those who followed their regular exercise routine.

Having an exercise companion and exercising together seems to be beneficial for the promotion of emotional and social support.

Emotional support, in turn, promotes exercise by enabling better self-regulation, in particular self-efficacy.

This video will provide you with some tips on how to overcome a lack of support.

Negative Thoughts

Once you start regaining weight it can be hard to not let negative thoughts creep in.

Many women feel like they are destined to just be overweight and that “they have always been fat.”

These thoughts can lead to a negative self-fulfilling prophecy.

The trick is to not let these ideas change your outlook on how much you have achieved.

You did the hard part and lost the weight.

This proves that you have the will and power to achieve anything you put your mind to.

One way to refocus your self-perception is to try meditation and other mind-body techniques.

Reframing your thoughts can often be the first step to getting you back on track.

Biologic Factors

Many aspects of weight gain are related to things you can change, such as activity level or your mental outlook.

However, as women age, there are other biological factors that come into play that can cause them to gain weight.

Menopause/Decreased Estrogen Levels

When women hit menopause, estrogen levels fall and lean body mass decreases, something known as sarcopenia.

Even during perimenopause, or the period a few years prior to menopause, women will start to see declining estrogen levels.

Studies have shown that estrogen can increase the signaling power of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).

This hormone is a major player in muscle synthesis, and its activation enhances muscle growth.

But getting older doesn’t have to mean losing muscle or gaining fat.

While estrogen replacement therapy may be a viable option in some women, this is something that must be discussed with your physician. There are always risks and benefits of starting hormone replacement therapy.

A safer approach is to increase physical activity.

Ongoing research supports the fact that exercise training is an effective approach to increase estrogen levels naturally.

Plus, resistance training has been found to be important in supporting muscle growth later in life by slowing the loss of muscle mass.

Lower Metabolism

Decreased testosterone levels go hand in hand with a lower metabolism.

Having a higher percentage of lean muscle mass is critical if you want to keep your metabolism revved up.

This allows your body to continue burning calories throughout the day, which will help you maintain a healthy weight.

Resistance training is one way to raise your metabolic rate by increasing muscle mass.

Another way is by adding high-intensity workouts.

Higher intensity exercises will force your body to continue to burn calories, even after the workout has ended.

This is called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC).

So if you are short on time, the key is to really up the intensity.

This means that even a workout that is short in duration will be high in fat burning and will keep your metabolism running.

While both moderate intensity, continuous cardio and high-intensity intervals both produce EPOC, the benefit of intervals is that they can produce the same amount of EPOC in a shorter period of time.

Learn how you can start increasing your metabolism after 40!

How To Get Back On Track

Staying on top of your health and fitness can be tough for a busy dad that is juggling work, family, and hundreds of other responsibilities.

And if you start to regain weight after months of hard work you may feel like a failure.

But the truth is, your fitness journey was never meant to be for a few weeks or months.

Being in the best shape of your life is a lifelong commitment.

There are a lot of reasons why women regain weight, from psychological to physical.

Once you identify these barriers you can take the necessary steps to get you right back on track.

Holly Smith, M.D.
B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on weight regain and why it happens.

Join Fit Father 30X

The World’s First Weight Loss Program for Men 40+

Lose Weight. Keep it Off.

Fit Mother Project Fact-Checking Standards

Our Fit Mother Project Team’s deepest commitment is to helping you live healthier for both yourself and your family. And when it comes to online content, integrity and trust is everything. That’s why our Fit Mother Project staff-writers are all trained professionals in the field of health and wellness (registered dieticians, licensed personal trainers, and licensed physicians) – see the full team here. We rigorously run all of our articles through a rigorous editorial process to ensure the accuracy, simplicity, and utility of the information. And we aren’t just a team of “academics” sitting in an ivory tower. We are real people – with jobs, responsibilities, and families – working hard in the trenches and testing our tips & methods out to make sure you can stay healthy for family.

Here is what you can expect from us on our Fit Mother Blog and YouTube channel:

  1. All of our content is written and reviewed by licensed health professionals (dieticians, personal trainers, doctors).
  2. In nearly all of our articles, we link to published research studies from the most respected peer-reviewed medical & health journals.
  3. We include research-based videos to accompany our articles to make it easier for you to consume our content, put it into action, and see results.
  4. Inside our articles & videos, we do promote our free meal plans, workouts, and/or paid programs, because we know they have the potential to change your life.
  5. We openly take feedback here on our contact page. We welcome your content suggestions… and even feedback on grammar (we’d like to thing that we’re pretty OK at spelling and “stuff”).
  6. Above all, we are a community of likeminded men and women committed to living healthier. We do not advocate any health advice that we wouldn’t personally implement with our families. Because as far as we’re concerned, you’re our family too.

Thanks for checking out the blog. We can’t wait to support you toward greater health, energy, and vitality.

– The Fit Mother Project Team

 

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy