They relapse in response to Stress. People get tired of being "good".
My relapse happened because of overwhelming work stress and a subsequent lifechange. I got tired of thinking about food 24/7 and constant worrying about gaining weight if I ate anything off plan. I have now eliminated that stress for good and can focus again.
I will lose 95 pounds in 2019 (goal of 160 lbs). Restart Sept 1, 2018, 300 lbs, New Goal Weight 160 lbs I want to reach 200 lbs by Sept 1, 2019
Original Starting weight 283 lbs, July 9, 2013 Goal Weight of 160 lbs Reached Nov. 26, 2014! Lowest weight was 154 lbs on 22 May 2015
I have lost and regained the same 30 pounds so many times I can't count. And what I realized is that I was working so hard to do it "in a hurry" that it was not sustainable. So, then I would get burned out and give up. This time, I am losing the weight much slower, but doing activities I can sustain and with a eating plan that I can live with long term. I feel so much more in control and I feel like I can sustain this lifestyle.
short and mid-term goal: stay consistent and keep losing weight. long-term goal: feel better about myself and not have weight be something I think about on a daily basis.
“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
There is an on-going study trying to examine this very issue.
From what I understand, it's two things:
1. Our society is not structured to support healthy eating and activity habits, so engaging in those involves a lot of mental energy.
2. Our bodies don't like to lose weight - it's not helpful from an evolutionary standpoint to be "comfortable" dropping weight. So keeping weight off is literally fighting against nature every day of the rest of your life. Also involves a lot of energy.
Take life one day at a time - enjoy today before you worry about tomorrow.
current weight: 235.0
Fitness Minutes: (36,413)
1/23/19 5:01 A
So, I have yo-yo dieted all my life. In 2017, I lost 80 pounds and gained it all back in 2018. I am back on it, now. This is something I do everytime. I do not know why I lose it and gain it all back. I say each time that it won't happen, but it always does.
I am a very strict dieter and go all in. Once I get to my goal or to where I am comfortable with how I look, I stop everything I had been doing and go back to what I was doing before. I don't know why, I guess it is because I am too restrictive and lose the weight to quickly.
I believe the number one reason we relapse is when we reach a plateau. It's really hard to keep on the path when we aren't seeing results. My hopeful solution this time around is to look at what I am doing right now as a lifestyle change and not a weight loss quest. Fingers crossed it works when I eventually plateau !!
What if the Hokey Pokey is REALLY what it's all about?? LOL
For me it was about prioritizing stuff over my health. I moved to a new city, got a work schedule that upended my old morning workout schedule, got a boyfriend-and-kids schedule that conflicted with evening group exercise (fun!) activities and adequate sleep, my tiny apartment (and downstairs neighbors) make working out at home more limited, and the shared fridge space means no more batch cooking.
So I relapsed because I ended all the healthy habits that Spark had helped me to create. Now I need to figure out how to make healthy habits within my new reality.
He drew a circle that shut me out-- Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in! -Edwin Markham
from experience, relapse comes when you get to your goal weight and then you don't know what else to do. You FORGET to set new goals. I realized this on my third try at SP and now I have been maintaining for almost 5 years.
ALWAYS set new goals for yourself once you have achieved in success in the ones you have completed
Susan from Welland Ontario CANADA
I REACHED my GOAL! I FOUGHT for it! I WILL NOT give it up! NOTHING will prevent me from maintaining my HEALTH!
Speaking from experience I think two things happened to me when I would regain the weight in previous times: first - I went "on a diet" so inevitably I went off the diet. I saw this as a temporary thing and second - I wasn't ready or willing to make permanent changes.
This last time (and it will be the last time) I had a whole different mentality. Mainly I knew at age 61 I had to get some weight off or I'd just get fatter and that would make aging even harder. I finally accepted that dieting didn't work long term and committed to choosing to eat healthy most of the time, tracking my food and staying at a reasonable calorie goal, limit the wine and move more. I didn't have a goal to lose x lbs by y date (something I'd always done in the past). Rather I committed to these changes for at least the next 12 weeks.
I did have a weight goal in mind and it was about 40 lbs less than I weighed & that would get me to the overweight category. When I got there I didn't change a thing an just kept losing. Ended up down close to 90 lbs and have been at or under goal for almost 6 years. Actually at my initial goal for 7 + years.
the other thing I did this time was to make small sustainable changes. Not too much at first. While I wanted to move more, I didn't really start to exercise for 6 months. then bought a pedometer and worked up to getting 10,000 steps/day.
It's a process and it works for me.
Persistence is more important than perfection.
Don't assume your freedoms are assured.
If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.
I don't know. It would vary for each person. What I do know, for me, it's very hard to get back on track after a relapse. Also, for me, it's the holidays. I do better when all trigger foods are out of the house.
Fitness Minutes: (9,505)
1/17/19 10:25 P
Having to count every dang calorie that I stick in my face. Not to mention all the cooking because buying healthy food prepared costs way too much. Fortunately I have a loving wife to help clean up the mess I make on the weekends trying to cook for the week.
Trying to cut too much. Of course, you can't eat fast food and cookies every day but there is a middle ground between McDonalds and Kale people don't find that and then they go back to eating the SAD (Standard American Diet). Or maybe like me, they lack knowledge of eating healthy.
Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin? To such extent you bleach, to get like the white man. Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet?- Malcolm X
I think that there likely are as many reasons for relapsing as there are people!
From what I've seen, the most common and apparently obvious reasons are:
- Some folks focused purely on getting to a specific number on the scale, with no regard to sustainability or health or enjoyment -- so either quit out of frustration or did manage to hit the number on the scale and promptly returned to the original habits that got them overweight to start with.
- Some folks originally become overweight due to an unhealthy relationship with food and a lack of healthy coping mechanisms, and did nothing to deal with that issue while dieting (and, often, used the control and restrictions of strict dieting as just a different aspect of the unhealthy relationship --- and used the diet itself as a coping mechanism). At some point, whether before or after they reached "goal weight", the untreated issue reasserts itself and they return to their former habits. These are the folks who need to recognize the underlying issue and treat that before they will be able to maintain long-term.
- Some folks diligently work to create healthier new habits, and make healthier food choices that they enjoy, and focus on creating a healthy new lifestyle. They carefully weigh / measure their food choices, they plan and track meticulously, they fret when their battery dies on their tracker, and they happily reach their goal. Once there, they gradually quit the weighing and measuring and tracking (because no "NORMAL" person has to do that), and at some point down the road discover that they hadn't developed the internal measures and tracking skills, and have inadvertently started a slow slide into relapse. I think that a majority of folks might have a bit of this one happen --- the biggest "lifestyle change" is discovering what tools are needed as an individual, and it can be hard to accept that the time and effort involved in measuring and tracking food and fitness might need to be a permanent part of a "normal" lifestyle.
- Another really common reason is not being able to adapt quickly enough to a major life change. Whether it is a pregnancy, or a job change, or a new or lost relationship, or an illness, or even just natural aging - most folks trust their hard-won new habits and lifestyle to carry on when they are focusing on a different priority. It can be a bit of a shock when they get to the point where they can pay attention to things beyond that life change, and discover that the needs of their body changed too --- and their new habits need yet another change to catch up. I suspect most of us need a few rounds before we truly understand and accept that our new lifestyle will need to be periodically reviewed and tweaked - for the rest of our lives!
- What I think might be far more common reason for relapse than anyone knows at this point in time is the impact on the gut microbiome and hormones and metabolism and appetite from the calorie-restricted diet itself, with differences depending a lot on an individual's environment from birth on, and the types of foods that they have depended on. While some folks seem to get a major long-term drop in their metabolism (along with major increase in appetite and hunger hormones) from being on a calorie-restricted diet, it appears that other folks have no issue with this and can settle in to a "normal" metabolism and appetite that is suitable to their "normal" weight. What the difference is, and whether it can be predicted and dealt with, is the focus of some really hopeful new research.
So - I don't know if I would say that anyone "does this to themselves" - at least, not deliberately! There is a lot of effort involved in experimenting and creating a healthy new lifestyle, and it is a bit deflating to realize that we need to continue experimenting and monitoring and changing for our healthy new lifestyle to continue to meet our changing needs. We've all got other things going on in our lives, so it takes awareness of the need for us to understand what our personal issues and challenges are, and to take steps to ensure that we keep making time for assessment and updates of how we are dealing with those issues.
For myself, I've been happily maintaining for almost 5 years now, with many months of not tracking anything, and still keeping within my chosen range on the scale. I am lucky to be one of those who has a "regular" metabolism and appetite, even after major weight loss. I chose to return to tracking but have been eating to hunger, and noticed that my intake has gone up by a couple of hundred calories per day over the past 8 weeks. I suspect that it is from the drop in temps (I'm outside 2-4 hours per day - regardless of weather - and we've been averaging below freezing for the past while). I have to admit to a bit of dark curiousity about when or if the scale is going to go up with the added calories, or if the cold really is increasing my caloric need! I am quite sure that I wouldn't notice the increase in eating if I weren't tracking right now, and would likely find it easy to miss an increase in weight from it if I weren't specifically watching for it. Relapse? Perhaps it could turn in to that, but I think that my awareness of it will let me tweak things before it gets to the point of having to do a major overhaul again.
Sir Terry Pratchett: "Science is not about building a body of known 'facts'. It is a method for asking awkward questions and subjecting them to a reality-check, thus avoiding the human tendency to believe whatever makes us feel good."
Because a lot of people have emotional issues that make them eat compulsively which they don't deal with so the cycle repeats itself.
To me this is a lifestyle change that deals with my mental and emotional health as well as my physical health. So the goal is to be healthy and if that includes losing weight that's great but I'm not obsessed with numbers. I'm 12 stone lighter now than I was 10 years ago and healthier both physically and mentally so that to me is a win.
It's been a long learning process and sometimes I've back slid but for me the holistic way is best.
Edited by: LAWLI56 at: 1/11/2019 (14:08)
~*Cely* (UK)" Be mindful and stay in the present. The past can't be changed but the future depends on what you do today.."
SW: 396lbs Dec 2006 Gastric Bypass Jan 2009 Restart: 302lbs 25 Aug 2017 Short Term Goal: 230lbs Final Goal: 175-180 lbs
well I did because to lose 40 lbs I was weighing every single bite I put in my mouth and cut out almost everything I enjoy eating. When I wasn't work or planning what I could or couldn't eat I was walking on the treadmill. Yes it worked...... and I needed to lose 50 lbs but after I got to 40 lbs I could not get the last 10.
I got tired of it.... of all the weighing, planning, denying myself food. I was tired of it all..... I just wanted to be able to go out to eat.... or eat at my families or something without stressing out about it.
Do what you have to to be happy in this life..... (quote from Bridges of Madison County)
The animals have no voice but ours.... (motto of our animal shelter)
What have you done today to make yourself proud? (biggest loser)
Lack of interest, not seeing progress quickly to keep you interested. Grow weary planning every meal/morsel that goes in your mouth when you just want to go where you want to go and not pre-plan what you will have when you get there. Your pants feel good so why not and that why not turns to several why nots until your pants are tight again and you think oh well, I've already blown it so why not again.
People relapse: because you are measuring, weighing and eating habits have changed; but you hit a wall. "The scale doesn't move for days, weeks or months. You get frustrated and cave. You don't feel better about the "caving" choice. Eventually, the light goes on and you make a lifestyle choice to be better. That's when you feel stronger and more in control of portions, exercise and stress. It's a challenge daily for a better lifestyle. I'm worth the investment and you are too.
I haven't read any of the replies to this question - wanted to reply first. For me, it was that I stopped working my plan and fell into bad habits once again. I was on Spark People 5 years ago and lost 90 pounds.....gained back 85 of them. I was so sure I would be able to maintain that I donated all my large size clothes....what an expense to have to purchase a new wardrobe to fit my rebound weight gain. I thought if I donated the clothes, I wouldn't gain it back - HA. I pledge this time around that I will focus on long term success and remind myself of why I am doing this everyday. For me it is to be healthy and happy and to be the best I can be for ME and nobody else!
I agree with many of the responses. I become bored and have a lull in focusing what I really intend to do. Especially this time of year when there was nothing but sweets, sweets, and more sweets. Someone brought beautiful, amazing cookie trays and red velvet cupcakes to my home for Christmas. I took them all to work and removed them from my home environment. After relapsing, it's best to work your way through it and get back on track as soon as possible.
If nothing changes, nothing changes.
current weight: 201.2
Fitness Minutes: (88,330)
1/5/19 3:50 A
Partly because the new habits are just that, they are new and science loves regression back to mean, which in this case means decades of your old behaviours. It is a fundamental change in your entire lifestyle. So relapses and pauses are part of the challenge. No one is perfect but we can each learn from why we relapsed.
Some unpleasant judgment going on from a couple of people here... Lack of discipline *rolls eyes*
I gained back because I was pregnant. Both times where difficult in different ways. The first time I was incredibly sick, morning, noon... Middle of the night. And all my body tolerated was basic carbs like potato. I had to have some nourishment. So going from low carb diet to basically potatoes caused gain. The second time I had a complex and difficult diagnosis and was one step off being put on bed rest to save both our lives. Going from walking daily to nothing allowed caused gain.
It was never about discipline for me. I needed to eat to nourish my babies. I made the best choices I could and circumstances made it impossible.
Edited by: -POOKIE- at: 1/4/2019 (04:05)
Fitness Minutes: (238,845)
1/3/19 11:11 A
@WIZZLEWOLF1 that is a good question! For me this is the first time ever that I transformed myself and I haven't relapsed, as opposed to my countless previous endeavors.
I think these are the reasons why I relapsed in the past: -I thought dieting ends when I reach goal, and I can go back to old habits -I didn't incorporate lots of fruits and vegetables in my food plan -I didn't create an enjoyable and sustainable food plan and exercise plan that I can keep up for the rest of my life -I didn't put my healthy lifestyle on the top of my priority list (food, exercise, sleep, rest) -I didn't stop drinking soda and didn't switch to water -I didn't change my unhelpful habits that lead to overeating, like eating quickly, eating standing up, eating beyond normal fullness... -last but not least: I didn't have the community support of SparkPeople
I do these things differently now, and I haven't relapsed for 7 years
Edited by: KRISZTA11 at: 1/3/2019 (11:12)
Goal weight: 59 +- 1 kg /// 130 +-2 pounds CET (Europe, Hungary)
Maintenance Lessons Learned: -go on with the healthy lifestyle learned in weight loss phase -just add healthy foods gradually to stop losing -work out every day - 30-60 minutes is enough to maintain weight and good mood -do not try to balance overeating by extreme workouts, it is not going to work -avoid overeating, instead of satisfaction you get stronger cravings
446 Maintenance Weeks
Fitness Minutes: (3,550)
1/3/19 10:28 A
Personally, it was a job change in March of last year that completely derailed me. I was making excellent progress and dropped 10 pounds. Well, I unfortunately accepted a call center position which is completely sedentary and inflexible. My break times change daily so my eating is inconsistent. Hopefully, I will get a new job soon.
The things that you relapse to are the things that you find to be the best use of your resources. I think a huge part of the problem is that a lot of people will suffer through the most ridiculous things to lose weight in the short term but not find any long term options. A lot of people have more creeping weight problems, which means that you're looking at something in the neighborhood of 100-200 calories a day on average adding up to ten or twenty pounds a year. And those people decide they would rather spend a month or so only eating cabbage or 500 calories a day rather than figure out something that they like that makes their total calorie count 200-400 calories below what it was before. For the people with particularly poor diets they try to go from Mountain Dew and stuffed meat lovers pizza to water, steamed tofu with sprouts and some out of season berries. Fruit doesn't taste sweet if you are used to cups of added sugar. Steaming is a great option, but higher fiber and lower fat tends to upset digestive tracts and you're losing a lot of the stronger flavorings to boot. 200 sodium per serving is a lot if you are used to 50, but not if you are used to 700. You have to give up what you were doing when you gained weight, but there should be a middle ground somewhere between what you did to gain and what you did to lose. Most people don't bother figuring out what lives in that area that they like and find easy to fit in with their budget and lifestyle. Things that you find value in you keep doing. Things that you don't find value in you don't do.
It's taken a long time for me to realize that I will always have to consciously pay attention to what I eat and how much I move. I can't go on and off a "diet" it really is a life style and for me that includes being mindful of what I eat, never going more than 2 days without exercise and weighing once a week. I do indulge occasionally but I always balance out my calories. There is no getting around it, I will always have a calorie limit.
At least for me, it was always a failure to plan for maintenance. I tried several different ways to lose weight (and most of them worked), but didn't really think about what would happen once the weight was off. This time was different in that I was prepared for the first 6 months to 1 year of maintenance to be a challenge in itself -- I was maybe over-vigilant for the first 6 months or so, but really got into a sustainable set of habits by the end of that first year.
I had a couple of disruptions after that - both due to pregnancies - but what I did to lose the pregnancy weight was primarily just get back into my old "maintenance" habits. (I was breastfeeding, so more serious calorie restriction was a no-go.) Once I got back into my maintenance pattern, not only did the weight come off, but I honestly felt like I was getting back to "normal" again, rather than on any kind of diet.
I think it's because many people (and I'm including myself) get complacent. Too many think that once the weight is gone and they are thin, they can eat whatever they want, whenever they want. And that's what sets a person up for regaining the weight.
In order to take the weight off and keep it off, we have to maintain all the healthy habits we adopted to take it off in the first place. You get into this mindset that once you're thin, you don't need to keep doing the work.
Well, I've learned the hard way, that if I am not mindful of my portion sizes and start eating whatever I want, whenever I want... I WILL regain the weight.
Because many incorrectly think that when they reach goal weight, they are done doing the work. Maintenance is harder than losing IMHO, and you have to do it for the rest of your life.
"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." ~ Randy Pausch
"There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results." ~ Art Turock
"We have a saying in Tibet: If a problem can be solved, there is no use worrying about it. If it can't be solved, worrying will do no good." ~ 7 Years in T
Fitness Minutes: (43,731)
1/2/19 11:31 A
I think a lot of people relapse into old habits because their mindset and their attitude about food, requires a CHANGE in their relationship with food. For many, food serves as comfort, stress relief, reward, etc. A lot of us believed that once we lost the weight, the battle would end. In reality, a person's lifestyle needs to stick to healthy habits to maintain those milestones achieved, and continue adapting through the years.
One thing I love to do is read and watch weight loss transformation stories. They give me a feeling of joy and happiness for those people and their accomplishments. I always look them up to see how they are doing NOW. More often than not, many have regained the weight and stopped their fitness programs. Like many people, I relate to that. I have transformed quite a few times. Albeit, my relapses are slow and steady over a period of years. Then, I have to start all over again. WHY DO YOU THINK WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES?