Expert Tips: Losing versus maintaining weight |

The number one question I get about weight loss is, Should I lose weight or eat fewer calories to maintain my weight? The answer is, It depends. Losing weight is hard work, and if you lose too much weight, it can be almost impossible to get it back. Even eating fewer calories for a few weeks can make a difference, especially if you’re doing so as part of a structured weight loss program that includes a food plan, exercise, and social support.

When it comes to weight loss, the simplest way is often the most effective. Keeping a morsel of food for yourself between meals can help you maintain your weight and burn extra calories, while only small portions of food can also help you lose weight.

You know, a lot of people are super annoyed at the idea of losing weight. It sounds so… anti-climactic. Lessons learned from those who have lost the weight, coming back and complaining about it: 1. Dieting is hard. 2. Those who say “I’m on a diet…” are liars. 3. If you think you can lose weight, and then never diet again, it’s probably not a good idea. 4. Dieting doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want all day long.

There was a lot of buzz recently in the media regarding a research that found that those who followed the Atkins diet lost more weight than those who followed the Zone, the Ornish plan, or the USDA’s plan.

In that study, individuals were instructed on each of these diets before being ordered to go forth and eat, with periodic assessments.

Despite the fact that the media made a big deal out of nothing, this research yielded a handful of very interesting results.


Finding 1: No one dropped a significant amount of weight.

Yes, despite the fact that the Atkins group dropped the most weight throughout the research, the overall amount of weight lost was quite little. The Atkins group dropped about 9 pounds, whereas the other groups lost approximately 5 pounds.

This pace of weight loss is especially discouraging when you consider the research lasted a year.

Finding 2: The diets were not strictly adhered to.

When researchers looked at the food records of the participants, it became apparent that the groups weren’t sticking to their diets very well.

That may explain why you’re losing weight so slowly. It may also explain why there aren’t any differences between the groups.

How do we know what works and what doesn’t?

But right now, I don’t want to think about losing weight. Rather, I’d want to concentrate on the distinctions between weight reduction and weight maintenance. These are two very distinct concepts.

In a Scientific American article, Dr. James Hill, a psychologist and expert on weight reduction, had an unusual perspective on this. He claims he isn’t interested in comparing diets or creating new ones. He’s interested in hearing from individuals who have successfully dropped weight and kept it off for good.

“The Atkins diet is a fantastic method to shed pounds… However, it is not a method for maintaining weight loss. You can’t keep doing it indefinitely… “I believe we [already] do a very good job with weight loss,” he adds.

He is in charge of the National Weight Control Registry, which gathers information on individuals who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for a year.

People’s weight-loss experiences are varied.

  • The typical weight reduction is 70 pounds over the course of six years. However, some individuals have dropped up to 100 pounds.
  • Successful weight reduction has lasted anywhere from a year to 66 years (!)
  • Some individuals lost it immediately, while others gradually lost it.

“There is no consistency at all when it comes to how they lost weight,” Hill adds. “However, there is a lot of similarity in how they kept it off,” she says.

Approximately 5,000 effective weight maintainers are presently tracked by the NWCR. Here’s what they discovered.

Weight maintainers have a number of characteristics in common.

Successful maintenance plans, according to Dr. Hill, include the following characteristics:

1. Get some exercise every day.

Hill explains, “Activity becomes the motor; food restriction does not.” “The notion that you’ll be hungry all the time for the rest of your life is ridiculous.”

Every day, successful maintainers engage in approximately 60 minutes of physical exercise. Many people exercise for up to 90 minutes each day.

People “get to the point with physical exercise where they don’t say they enjoy it, but they say ‘it’s part of my life,’” according to Hill.

2. Maintain a healthy calorie and fat consumption

Successful maintainers have a reasonably balanced diet.

According to Hill, fat made up around a quarter of their diet.

The most significant aspect, in my opinion, is that kids were more conscious of food. Even having a basic understanding of how much fat, carbohydrate, and protein they’re consuming, as well as proper portion size, may help them maintain their weight indefinitely.

3. Consume breakfast

Everyone who reads this should be aware of the significance of breakfast. However, many others do not. So get the word out.

Almost everyone who is successful in maintaining long-term weight reduction eats breakfast every day.


You should share this if you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight.

4. Check your weight

Despite the fact that weighing in has become taboo, according to Dr. Hill’s study (as well as studies from Brown University), weighing in on a regular basis helps research participants lose weight and maintain their weight loss.

It all boils down to being alert. You can modify your intake or workout regimen as needed if you know how many calories you’re eating and how much you weigh each week.

If you don’t have this knowledge, you’re relying on a wing and a prayer to lose weight (or keep it off).

What’s the difference between the two?

Goal Loss of weight maintaining a healthy weight
Duration Temporary; ad hoc; ad hoc; ad Life-long
Speed It may be calm and steady (PN style) or fast and furious (Get Shredded) What’s your top speed? I’ve already arrived! It’s now or never!
Change in size Changes range from minor to major. It’s possible that you’ll “fall off the wagon” and take a major step backward. Very little adjustments; knowledge of day-to-day weight variations Responds quickly to minor deviations; quickly gets back on course with little damage.
Possibile mentality “Get ‘er done” is a new habit to learn. Limiting choices, deprivation Maintain the excellent behaviors you’ve previously developed. PatiencePersistence

Continual tweaking

Reasonable flexibility

Dietary composition Low fat, low carb, Mediterranean, etc., are only a few examples. Often, the emphasis is on rigorously avoiding or restricting a certain macronutrient, or on consuming “special meals” (e.g. grapefruit diet, cabbage soup diet) There are some differences, but most significantly, they all need constant monitoring and self-awareness. It must be a way of eating that can be maintained for the rest of one’s life.
Typical behaviors Observation and monitoring on a regular basis (may be less frequent to allow progress to occur) Exercise on a regular basis Concentrate on your dietary selections. Observation and monitoring on a daily basis, including weigh-ins Exercise on a regular basis Healthy dietary choices that are made on a regular basis

You’re correct if you think the last two columns seem the same. The healthy behaviors that were formed (hopefully) during the weight reduction phase are carried over into weight maintenance.

If you think you can diet down to your desired weight and then stop working on it, you’re in for a rude awakening. Just as you don’t wash your teeth once and then forget about it, maintaining at a healthy weight needs consistent effort, exercise, and a long-term commitment, according to studies.

And here’s something else the NWCR discovered: 62 percent of those who successfully maintain their weight watch fewer than 10 hours of television each week. Turn off the television, have your breakfast, and get that bathroom scale out!

Find out more.

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There are two different ways to lose weight: a) losing weight by eating less and exercising more, and b) losing weight (and keeping it off) by eating less.. Read more about how to start losing weight when you are obese and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is maintaining weight easier than losing?

It is easier to maintain weight than it is to lose weight.

How can I maintain my weight instead of losing?

There are many ways to maintain your weight. You can eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and avoid processed foods that have a lot of sugar in them.

Why am I maintaining my weight instead of losing?

Your body is trying to maintain your weight because it needs energy to function.

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Una is a food website blogger motivated by her love of cooking and her passion for exploring the connection between food and culture. With an enthusiasm for creating recipes that are simple, seasonal, and international, she has been able to connect with people around the world through her website. Una's recipes are inspired by her travels across Mexico, Portugal, India, Thailand, Australia and China. In each of these countries she has experienced local dishes while learning about the culture as well as gaining insight into how food can be used as a bridge between different cultures. Her recipes are often creative combinations of traditional ingredients from various different cuisines blended together to create something new.