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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    I can lose some weight but I put it back on again why?

    I've been overweight for most of my life (Since 15 years) and I've tried losing weight a few times but always put it back on and then more - I'm giving up hope. I've checked my BMI as I know this is important for gauging my health and I'm now in the obese range and very scared. Why is it that I'm always putting on weight still when I have cut down calories and I'm walking for 20 minutes a day?
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  • 1

    Thanks

    Allison Roberts

    Diabetes Educator, Dietitian

    Allison Roberts is a Newcastle based Accredited Practising Dietitian, who specialises in weight loss and associated co-morbidities, Diabetes, Cholesterol, Digestive Health and General Nutrition. View Profile

    Weight loss and weight maintenance is not always as simple as “calories in </= calories out”. To lose weight and maintain this weight loss successfully, long term behaviour change needs to occur. The most common reason people regain weight is due to slipping back into old behaviours. Often we lose motivation to maintain the changes in our diet and exercise regime once we meet our goal weight.

    There could also be physiological reasons why you are finding it difficult to maintain your weight loss - such as sensitivity to hormones including insulin and leptin. These hormones can effect our ability to lose and maintain weight. It is important to speak to your GP for some advice.

    Your body will respond differently depending on the type and intensity of exercise you chose to do. It is important to ensure your exercise is appropriate for your diet and your goals, and that you keep challenging your body to see ongoing results.

  • Anthony is an experienced Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Sports Dietitian. Anthony practices out of Wakefield Sports Clinic and consults to a number of elite … View Profile

    Again this is an all too common scenario, really. There are a number of points to clarify and the first is that BMI is a pretty crude measure of health. It doesn't take into account the difference between body fat and muscle mass. The worry with that is that, we can sometimes have a fairly normal BMI but high body fatness because of a low muscle mass.

    So BMI has its place but it's not the ultimate of measure of whether you're in a healthy weight range protected from a mortality, morbidity perspective. The fact that it's gone into the obese range is certainly a concern. It's actually a good thing to be recognising what’s going on and wanting to do something about it. In terms of the nutrition side, I think it's probably a good idea to get a review and make sure.

    It's very common for people to lose weight and put on weight in that yo-yo sort of fashion. Previous experiences might be something that need to be reviewed to get a plan in place that will work in the long term. Weight loss is a lifestyle change rather than just a short-term fix.

    That's sometimes what the problem is. People will take something on a get a short-term gain and then take their foot off the accelerator a bit and fall back into old habits without realising and it's not long in until things are back to where they were. The other important thing here is that, 20 minutes a day in exercise really isn't much. And walking 20 minutes a day is probably not going to burn anywhere near enough kilojoules or calories to make a significant difference to weight.


    Then we think that a little bit of exercise is going to fix everything when the reality is it's probably more likely we've got to get an hour or more of activity in four or five times a week to be serious about getting weight down. Low intensity exercise, while it might be safe, is not always going to be a successful strategy in the long-term for getting weight off.

    So it'd be better to actually get a proper, informed exercise program and to get some individualised advice about what is safe to do and to progress the amount of exercise up to a level that will stimulate that weight loss. And these days, we can get access quite easily to expert physiologists who are really the most skilled people to give that sort of recommendation and advice.

    Changing things up, changing exercise intensities, changing the volume, changing the time, changing the time of the day even, can get our bodies out of a comfort zone and help trigger some extra energy expenditure and raise metabolic rate and help with weight loss from that perspective.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Lyn Christian

    Nutritionist

    As a Naturopath and Nutritionist I am passionate about the promotion of health using functional foods to correct nutrient imbalances.All health conditions need to be … View Profile

    It’s great that you acknowledge the issue of being overweight and are trying to correct it. It must be very disappointing for you to be in the weight yo-yo cycle. Diet, exercise, hormones, lifestyle all play major roles in our efforts to lose weight. Don’t get too caught up with the BMI reading. It does not measure the body fat to muscle fat ratio. When people lose weight and exercise they may lose fat and gain muscle , so the BMI may not change or even appear to be higher. Buy some body composition scales or see a Nutritionist to keep tabs on fat versus muscle. Our weight tends to stabilise at its “set point” and will not shift unless we are extremely diligent with diet and exercise. When you reach a new “set point” you will have to maintain this weight for at least 12 weeks until your body accepts the new “set point”. You will need to keep a food diary so that you can read on paper the number of calories you are consuming. Tedious yes but well worth the effort. Seek out a personal trainer to organise your exercise routine. A variety of exercises for a minimum of 40 minutes 4 times per week will be needed to shift body fat and tone muscles. Visit your GP and have pathology check your hormone levels and fasting glucose for insulin resistance.

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