Keeping the Weight Off

Having Trouble Keeping the Weight Off?

There has been a lot of recent coverage of enormous weight loss, followed by people experiencing difficulty keeping the weight off. On such television shows as The Biggest Loser, for example, this seems to be the norm rather than the exception. The premise of that show in particular, is that people lose an extraordinary amount of weight by working with personal trainers, radically modifying their diets, all while being sequestered at some ranch. It’s a televised fat camp of sorts. The winner of the show is the one who loses the most weight. Fair enough, but what about keeping the weight off? That’s when things get a lot more intricate and involved from both a psychological perspective, as well as a physiological one as well.

Television shows are obviously primarily about entertainment, be it sensationalism from a newscast, or contrived drama from any one of the numerous so called reality shows. The fact that one can go to a ranch, in a controlled environment, and lose a lot of weight is fine, but keeping the weight off, especially after the cameras stop rolling, is a whole other thing into and of itself. In the Biggest Loser show, a winner of one of the seasons reduced his body weight from 430 pounds to 191. The problem with keeping the weight off emerged when he was forced to deal with the new found reality that his resting metabolic rate burned 800 fewer calories than it should for a man of his size now.

When we lose a lot of weight, our metabolic rate slows dramatically, and as a result our caloric needs are diminished when we want to hold ourselves at a certain bodyweight. If, for example, a person lost 100 pounds, going from 200 to 100 pounds, it stands to reason that they would be eating less to maintain the lighter weight. The problem, however, lies in the fact that since they lost a great amount weight, that their metabolic rate has slowed so much that when they previously would have to intake 1200 calories to maintain their new bodyweight, they now only need 800 to do the same job. Diminished calorie diets can be dangerous, as they often deprive us of certain nutrients, or at least a certain amount of them. Using the aforementioned example, 700 or so calories per day isn’t a whole lot to subsist on and it can hardly be enough to not just fuel your body, but to build muscles. There’s also the hunger aspect to consider. Walking around hungry isn’t a pleasant sensation and it’s a condition few people are willing and/or able to tolerate.

Keeping the weight off becomes even more of a battle than the actual weight loss itself, as it’s no longer more or less a calories in versus calories out formula. With a reduced metabolic rate, exercising is of great importance, but if you have to adhere to a dramatic reduction of calories, where does your body find the fuel to propel those workouts? Does one turn to supplements? Does one use energy drinks which can be potentially harmful to one’s health?

The biggest secret to keeping the weight off isn’t reducing one’s daily caloric intake, adding in more cardiovascular exercise, nor is it a matter of strict willpower. That’s all common knowledge. The secret lies in one’s resting metabolism. Resting metabolism is simply how many calories our body will burn while resting, as opposed to when exercising or moving about. When the people who weigh 400 pounds have their metabolic rates analyzed, it’s more often than not found that they have the proper resting metabolism for their size. Not that they are considered healthy or that things are okay with carrying all that extra mass, but at least things are proportional as far as their metabolism goes. The secret to keeping the weight off after losing a great deal of it, is to increase one’s resting metabolism.

No matter what your starting weight, if you go about losing body weight, you will invariably slow your metabolic rate. Even if you are a thin person who decides to drop a few pounds. This is not news to nutritionists, scientists, or dietitians. As a personal trainer in Austin for the past 21 years, I can’t say that was news to me either. What was news to all of us, however, was the fact that once a person lost some weight, their metabolic rate, though slowed via through the process, did not recover to the proper levels as it had been before the weight loss began. Therefore, with this knowledge, it is no surprise that someone who loses a great amount of weight, like the aforementioned contestant on the television show, will have a great deal of trouble keeping the weight off.

All hope is not lost, however. There are many strategies we can employ in our efforts of keeping the weight off. While we know that our biology dictates that our metabolic rate will be slowed by taking the weight off, there are ways we can combat this. There are foods, for example, we can eat that aid in raising our metabolism. Egg whites, for example, are a rich source of branch chain amino acids which play a key role in our metabolism. Lean meats are fortified with iron. It’s been demonstrated many times over the years that an iron deficient diet will result in a slower metabolic rate. Water intake is another way we can try to boost our metabolism. If you want to go the extra mile with it, consume cold water, which will require your body to burn calories to warm it. Chili peppers can also add a surge to your metabolism, as they contain the compound capsaicin, as well as a bit of vitamin C, so a cut up pepper into one of your meals would be a benefit in more ways than one.

Cardiovascular exercise is always going to be mandated for anyone looking to lose weight, as it is what burns fat as fuel, in conjunction with the oxygen we intake. Anaerobic, coupled with aerobic weight training, on the other hand, is what stimulates the generation of muscle tissue. It has been shown repeatedly that those of us with greater levels of muscle mass, have a higher resting metabolism than those with a lesser percentage of muscle mass.

There is no one clear way of keeping the weight off. However, by having a multidimensional approach to the phenomenon of a slower metabolic rate that includes nutrition, exercise, proper hydration, and the like, we can mitigate it’s effects, and in some people, alleviate the biological response altogether depending upon their genetics, amount of weight lost, and of course, how much effort they invest.

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My name is Andy Bruchey and I founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition and sports specific training.
Keeping the Weight Off
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Keeping the Weight Off
Austin personal trainer Andy Bruchey writes about the difficulties of keeping the weight off once you have lost it.
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Andy Bruchey- Complete Fitness Design
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About Andy

My name is Andy Bruchey and I am a longtime Austin personal trainer having founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and sports specific training for professionals. Contact me today to see how I can help you!
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin , Texas 78748 512-484-2270