Weight Watchers, one of the many weight loss services out there. It works! Every person I have ever talked to that has tried Weight Watchers has lost weight. Some people have even lost a very impressive amount of weight. So, you might be wondering, why are we here? Why does the title imply the opposite? Well here’s your answer. Every single person I have ever known that has tried Weight Watchers has also gained all the weight back, sometimes gaining even more than what they lost.
Maybe you know someone like this. Maybe they have even gone back a second, third, even fourth time! To me, that is just downright craziness. If you gained the weight back after the first time, the second, third, and fourth times are not going to be any different.
Something sinister is at play here..
Haha just kidding. These weight loss services aren’t designed to be sinister (giving the benefit of the doubt here) but the reason that people fail once they cease the program is that none of these programs truly teach a lifestyle change and much more importantly, they don’t give anyone a plan for what to do once the ‘diet’ has stopped. This is the major downfall and this is why you will keep gaining that weight back.
These programs work by putting you in a caloric deficit. That’s all weight loss is, taking in less than your putting out. What they fail to tell you is that if you have been in a deficit for an extended period of time, say three months or longer, your body is primed for weight regain. This is no fault of your own, just your body’s natural defense adaptations.
Here is a nice little list of what happens when you are in a caloric deficit:
- Metabolic rate slows down – It adapts itself to the smaller amount of calories.
- Increase in energy efficiency – This may sound good but it’s not, this means your body needs less to maintain it’s functions. Think of it as the difference between maintaining your weight on 1000 calories vs 2000 calories.
- Thermogenesis decreases – Your body burns less calories digesting food.
- Changes in thyroid hormones – Your thyroid controls your metabolism and if your thyroid isn’t up to snuff, your metabolic rate may suffer.
- Fat cells shrink – This results in an increased sensitivity to insulin leading to the body being more efficient at weight regain.
The mistake that people make is they go through a weight loss program happy with the results and thinking, now I can go back to my regular habits. They have no idea that their body is primed and ready to put all that weight back on. I’m not trying to take a jab at these types of programs but I find it irresponsible that they don’t provide their customers with a plan of what to do after the diet is over. Shame on you. Shame.
So what do you do? There really is only one answer. Reverse diet. This is if you don’t want to be a slave to Weight Watchers for the rest of your life(or other kinds of yoyo diet cycles). Your metabolic rate needs about the same amount of time that you spent dieting, if not longer, to recover. Reverse dieting is a whole other beast of a topic so if you would like to read more about it, I have already written a whole post which you can read here.
If you are someone that has yoyo dieted through these programs (or just in general) I highly recommend that you stop dieting, it’s not doing you any good. Instead think about starting a reverse diet, and adding more food back in. It seems counter intuitive if you want to lose weight but I promise that the long term results will be worth it.