How many times have you dieted for fat loss, saw good progress, ended it, and then a few months later you gained all of the weight back, maybe more?
If so, this is extremely common in the dieting realm.
It’s frustrating to see because you put in the work and you made changes, but you did all of it for nothing.
And now you have to do it all over again.
We dont have a weight loss problem, we have a weight maintenance problem.
You know how to lose weight, but keeping it off, thats a different story.
Because of this, I use a nutrition tool called nutrition periodization.
If you want to read more about it, read this article HERE.
The biggest problem is that you dont have any plan afterward.
You are 100% in during the fat loss time, but then when it’s over you go back to 0%.
And this is what is hurting you.
Just to give you an overview, after a fat loss phase, we have online clients go into a maintenance/post-diet for a period of time.
What this does is gives their body a break mentally and physically from pushing a new bodyweight.
Read HERE to see about hunger and cravings increasing during fat loss and read HERE to learn more about metabolic adaptation.
This phase is often overlooked for most people because you aren’t aiming for something new, you are just maintaining. But it is the MOST crucial for long-term sustainability and results.
Here are some commons mistakes I see made during the post-diet period.
After a fat loss phase, it makes sense to want to take a break from tracking,
But after a fat loss phase, your body is primed to want to eat more so you need to be careful here. Tracking can help you not overeat.
You dont have to track every last calorie/macro, although for the first few weeks following this might be a good idea, but having something to track nutrition-wise is going to be key.
If you just listen to your body following fat loss you will eat anything and everything and you will likely overeat.
If you want more information on how to reverse out of a diet, listen to this podcast episode HERE.
➡️No self-monitoring of weight
Your weight will slightly increase following a fat loss phase, so a lot of people will shy away from monitoring their weight, but if you don’t track your weight for a while you don’t know what your true maintenance is and you can risk gaining a substantial amount of weight back.
What you see happen a lot is because you aren’t seeing the scale go down as you did during fat loss, you just say screw it, and then you decide to weigh in weeks later and are surprised that you gained 10 or more pounds.
It’s still a good idea to monitor what is going on weight-wise to see if you are overeating or not.
With all clients we have them track atleast 3x per week and then we take the average per week.
When it comes to maintenance, people think it’s this exact number, but really it is a range.
Aim for your weight to maintain around 2.5% up or down.
Avoid the trap of not weighing for extended periods of time, this is a big reason why you see your weight spike back up.
➡️Too many “tasty” foods
Your body is primed to want to eat more food following a fat loss phase. Tasty foods are easy to overeat and are exactly the kinds of foods your body is craving.
Instead of eating more “junk” food just focus on increasing the portions of your “diet” foods.
You dont have to just eat your normal diet foods, but be careful with adding in too many tasty foods.
For the first 2-3 weeks its probably best to really limit tasty foods and then from there slowly incorporate more.
I get it though, you diet for whatever amount of time, and then you still have to pay attention? How lame.
What you dont want to do is go from eating your nutrient-dense foods during the diet and then going straight into all tasty foods.
This is a recipe for overconsumption and weight gain post-diet.
After pushing the activity hard following a fat loss phase, it makes sense to want to take a break.
But staying active is very important to regulate your appetite and increase overall calories burned throughout the day.
You dont have to do the amount of activity you were doing during fat loss, but you also want to make sure you still keep up something post-diet.
For example, if you were doing 12k steps during your fat loss, maybe you drop to 8-10k per day.
Be careful with letting this fall too far.
Moderate to high levels of physical activity is great for appetite regulation, if you let it fall too far post-diet you will have a tough time regulating your appetite because you will also be hungry from fat loss dieting.
A double whammy.
Not to mention, you will burn fewer calories overall if you let your activity levels drop too far.
➡️Drop calories back down if weight slightly goes up
After seeing the scale go down for a period of time it can be addicting to want to continue to see it go down.
But you must take a break from that, and you must give your body a break from losing weight. (Refer back to the metabolic adaption article I linked earlier).
Getting into this endless cycle of eating less if the scale slightly goes up is not a battle you want to get into.
This is where a lot of people get into this endless fat loss dieting mindset.
Exactly what we are trying to avoid.
The big takeaway here is that dont let the end of your fat loss diet be the end of paying attention to what you’re doing.
You dont need to be as strict during your post-diet phase, but you must have some sort of plan and monitoring of what is going on.
If you just go from 100% on to 100% off, you’re going to see the weight you lost come back on.
Having a coach guide you through this period is crucial to long-term success so you dont end up losing the same 10-15lbs year over year.
If youre ready for that, fill out the application HERE to see if you would be a good fit.