You lose five pounds. Then, you gain it back. This is a common experience for many people who try to lose weight. In fact, research shows that those who lose weight often regain the weight — plus more.
Why does this happen? One possible explanation is called set point theory, which is becoming more well-known as intuitive eating gains popularity. “It’s the idea that we have a genetically pre-determined body weight range that changes over the course of your life,” explains Kristen Carli, RDN. These changes are due to the metabolism shifts that happen with age thanks to hormones, the way we digest food, and many other factors. Think about it: the weight where you felt most comfortable in high school is probably different from the weight where you feel most comfortable in your 20s, 40s, 60s, and beyond.
But here’s the kicker: Your body will defend your set point weight. “If it senses a famine, it will adjust accordingly by being more efficient,” explains Rebecca McConville, RD, CSSD, a sports dietitian and author of Finding Your Sweet Spot. So if you’re dieting and eating less than usual, your body may conserve energy by slowing down your metabolism, or turn up your drive to eat, causing hunger. “The brain doesn’t make the distinction between intentional under-fueling as in a diet versus a famine,” McConville adds.
Excerpted from InStyle