Maintaining weight after a significant loss is a real challenge. Most will regain lost weight, or more. However some succeed. Their success is based on some habits they share. We do a balance with Paul Boisvert, kinesiologist, doctor in exercise physiology and weight control specialist!
1. There are always statistics that 95% of people regain their weight after dieting. Where does this statistic come from and is it still relevant?
This 95% statistic comes from a scientific study by Stunkard1 dating from … 1959. Subsequent studies have confirmed weight gain between 2 and 5 years for about 80% of people. There is more hope than the old statistics suggest.
2. Why do most people regain lost weight?
It is a matter of non-disclosure and release. After a cognitive limitation of 6 to 12 months, people return to their old habits. The main mistake is that most people who follow the diet think that these are temporary changes in their lives and that they will then regain their total freedom, which is similar to the current limitation with the pandemic. I call them manic-depressive diets because they take an all-or-nothing approach. This thought is detrimental to the acquisition of healthy living habits that will last a long time, to make it a healthy lifestyle that should be maintained throughout life. The reality is that they need to continue to be vigilant and make some effort.
3. What are the secrets of people who can beat statistics?
A large U.S. registry (National Weight Control Registry) tracks more than 10,000 people who have experienced significant weight loss and maintained it for at least 5 years. These people have a few things in common: they eat breakfast, watch a little TV (less than 10 hours a week), move 60 minutes five times a week, and consume less fat. I always advise my clients to find time on the agenda to move. To maintain, 150 minutes of physical activity per week is no longer enough, you need to aim for 300 minutes. A brisk walk of 5 km per day or 10,000 steps throughout the day is good. It seems like a lot, but it is important to ensure energy balance and thus prevent weight gain. In fact, the higher the energy expenditure through physical activity, the more food intake consists of meeting energy needs. We aim for a more intuitive and internal approach to energy balance.
4. In the maintenance phase, what are your recommendations regarding dietary strategies?
I urge my clients to be vigilant believing in a more conscious and intuitive approach. On the other hand, every day surplus, whatever it is, is allowed … provided it is compensated with one or two days where energy intake is limited. For example, if you consume 500 kcal more than usual in alcohol, chicken wings and cakes on Saturday, you will definitely need to aim for a limit of 500 kcal less, for example, consuming 250 kcal less for two days, let to say. on Monday and Tuesday. This is what you need to do, for example, when you return from vacation. A reflex must be made.
- The most important dietary principle to follow, though not necessarily the easiest, is to respect true hunger. Wait to eat a meal, for example lunch, only when you feel hungry (9am or 10am if necessary). Eating a little at meals, if you are not hungry, is good. Also, do not force yourself to finish a dish unless you are no longer hungry, for example in a restaurant. Instead, take advantage of the opportunity to pick up garbage at home.
- 3AND The basic principle is moderation, which is respected through portion control. For example, one cup of cooked pasta is enough for most people.
- In addition to adhering to normal healthy eating habits, special attention should be paid to added sugar and it is preferable to choose fruits. Special care should be taken to get enough fiber (25 g for women and 38 g for men) and protein (1 g / kg body weight). To achieve this, I recommend starting the day with a healthy 400 kcal breakfast including 2 protein sources (eggs, fat-free cretonne, cooked bacon, cheese, plain yogurt), 1 fruit, 1 serving of whole grain bread or cereals.
- Cooking is key to making sure you eat the recommended minimum of 4 servings of vegetables, to limit fast foods and ultra-processed foods. I prefer meal salads and lunch soups that contain a legume.
- My recommended snack? A handful of pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
5. How often do you recommend weighing?
I would say that a weight once or twice a month is good for monitoring any weight gain. Once the weight shows an increase of 2 or 3 pounds, we adjust the stroke. We give ourselves a maximum difference of 5 pounds of weight gain. Do not expect to have gained 10 pounds before reacting. Otherwise, everything has to start all over again! This is especially important when you are returning from holiday season and summer vacation.
6. What other factors are important for the maintenance phase?
Balance of life, to manage stress and emotions well. To create enough space for social relationships, sports, family, friends. To constantly return to balance, to keep your life under control, otherwise healthy eating habits will be difficult to maintain, as will weight. Eating emotions or getting bored is incompatible with weight control. Everything fits!
1. STUNKARD AJ, MCLAREN-HUME M. Treatment Outcomes for Obesity. Archives of Internal Medicine, 1959, 103, 79-85