If you lose weight, but it keeps coming back, you may have a deeper problem.
If the weight keeps coming back even after you lose it, the problem may not be just a little extra weight. You may have obesity. If you have obesity, a critical part of successfully managing its impact on your health is to understand that it is a chronic condition. This means that there is currently no permanent cure that will reverse your obesity completely. Understanding that obesity is a chronic condition may be the difference between true and sustainable health, and a series of unsuccessful, frustrating weight loss attempts that result in weight regain.
The key to managing weight long-term
The key to managing weight long-term can be not just losing weight once, but rather, isolating and managing the factor that caused it in the first place. Many factors may have caused your weight gain and obesity, such as stress, reduced sleep, a gene that you inherited, or exposure to one of the other 90 factors that may contribute to weight gain. Unless you manage the original cause of your weight gain, the weight will come back. Why wouldn’t it?
Managing the original contributor to your weight gain may be easier for some causes than others. For example, a gene you inherited that makes you hungry, or reduces your metabolic rate, is with you for life. These are the cases that may be helped significantly by drug therapy. On the other hand, a temporary stressful situation that caused your weight gain may subside with time. There are key features of your weight history that can help a health practitioner determine the best way to manage the original contributors to your weight gain.
It's not YOUR fault. Your body will try to get you back to your previous weight.
However, no matter what the original cause of the weight gain, your body will defend the previous, higher weight. When weight is lost, your appetite and craving for food will eventually increase. This signal comes from the “thermostat” in your brain, called the hypothalamus, which is trying to keep your body weight stable. Although scientists are trying to understand how this natural response to weight loss works, to reverse it, there is currently no way to “reset” your hypothalamus to prevent this.
Weight-loss is the first step, but it is not a permanent cure.
The weight will come back unless you put effort into and maintaining your progress. So, like diabetes or other chronic diseases, lifelong management is required to control obesity. Successful weight management usually looks like one of two approaches:
1. Losing weight repeatedly after gaining it back, or…
2. Losing weight, and putting effort into keeping the weight off indefinitely.
If you repeatedly regain weight you have lost, you are not alone. Until science maintains a permanent fix, it’s in your best interest to stay vigilant about your weight. Most people choose to fight obesity on their own, or with the help of their friends or family. This is like trying to take care of a serious medical condition with advice from friends. Obesity is a medical condition, so recruit medical help to combat it.