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Ask The Nutritionist: Is it Harder to Lose Weight, or to Keep the Weight Off Once You Lose It?

To have your question featured in next week’s column you may write it in the comments section, or email it to questions@yossimuller.com.

Question

Is it harder to lose weight, or to keep the weight off once you lose it?

Answer

There are several unique challenges that people face during the maintenance process that they don’t face during the diet.

Let’s discuss one.

The reality is that people think that dieting is hard, and maintenance is easy. Because of this people will devote a lot of time energy into a diet, but not into maintenance. Certainly, if you do not give maintenance the focus and energy it deserves, you are destined to fail because it does have unique challenges.

One of those challenges is as follows:

Even though you hopefully recognize that maintenance requires a lot of work, the people around you don’t. So while they were there to support you, encourage you, and even actively assist you during your diet, they all of a sudden disappear when you’re trying to maintain weight.

When you were on your diet, your spouse was there to help you with meal planning, your friends encouraged you, and your neighbors complimented you on your success. People may have even offered you incentives to lose weight.

However, while you are in the middle of the lifelong process of maintaining weight, do you think your wife will be very focused on preparing only the healthiest meals? Will your friends forever be encouraging you to maintain your weight?  Of course not! But if only they understood that maintenance is also a big challenge, they would be more supportive.

Not only are they not supportive of you while you’re trying to maintain weight, they often turn against you and make it even harder! 

For example, your friends who’ve felt that it was perfectly reasonable for you to not go out for pizza with them while you were on your diet, now that you’re doing maintenance you have no excuse! Your spouse didn’t mind not bringing cake and candy into the house while you were on your diet, but would never agree to eliminate it from the house permanently! Your mother in law didn’t mind when you turned down her homemade peanut butter pie during your diet, but if you declined it after your diet is over, she will be very insulted.

People who lost weight and are trying to keep it off have to hear comments all the time that make them feel like  going back to their old eating habits. “Your too skinny!”, “You look sick!”, and “You don’t have to be so strict anymore.” are all examples of comments made by well meaning people that make maintenance more difficult than it has to be.

So to answer your question, for most people, maintenance is much harder than dieting. But for those people who are willing to learn about the challenges of maintenance and properly prepare for it, it is actually much easier than dieting.

We will discuss the other challenges involved with maintaining weight loss in future articles IY”H.  

Yossi Muller, CNWC, is a nutritionist with a private practice in Lakewood and also gives a college course in Applied Nutrition. His unique approach to nutrition is reaching hundreds of men in local businesses, schools, and organizations. You can reach Yossi at 732-806-7373. 

To read Yossi’s previous articles featured on The Lakewood Scoop click here 

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There are 4 Comments to "Ask The Nutritionist: Is it Harder to Lose Weight, or to Keep the Weight Off Once You Lose It?"

  • My Take says:

    As a person who always has to be careful not to gain weight, I think it is harder to maintain one’s weight than to lose it. While you are on a program to lose weight, you are careful to watch everything you eat. Once you reach your goal, you think you can relax a bit. That’s not so. You always have to be on guard watching what goes into your mouth. If you want to maintain your lost weight you have to be careful not to take in too many calories or you will gain it back. It is a lifelong struggle.

  • Fullbagger says:

    Our entire family is commited to a healthy lifestyle. Our close knit friends are part of our support network and we make it a point to have only positive coaching in our surroundings. Yes maintenance can be very diffucult without the right cheerleaders or tools but to make a blanket statement implying a one size fits all about regarding spouses, family, friends, is incorrect. We don’t feel deprived or were missing out on things in life either by not eating all foods. We go to a simcha for the event and not the food. Rewarding people with a big dinner out wether heathy or not sends the wrong message as well.

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s a lesson ,always to be focused ,during & after the diet to maintain . i think the main focus should be that : if you fressed away, dont give it up .start tomorrow again ,because if you think youre lost ,you can gain everything back VERY FAST . Dont give up ! you slipped ,fine !

  • Mr.R says:

    Question for the Nutritionist.

    I don’t care about my health. Will I lose weight by switching from regular soda to diet?

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