Visitor Put up: Causes For Weight Regain


Right this moment’s Visitor Put up comes from my buddy and colleague David Macklin, MD, Toronto

Not way back I acquired a message from a colleague in search of assist with a affected person who was regaining weight. As I thought of my response, it occurred to me that there must be a complete record of why this occurs, but I couldn’t keep in mind coming throughout one. The next is a extra detailed copy of the record I despatched again to my colleague that day.  I’d wish to thank Arya for suggesting that I share this record together with his readership.  

An necessary observe concerning this record:  Motive primary is crucial and most typical cause for weight regain. The opposite causes could make the first cause extra difficult.


The first cause for weight regain is biology. The mind defends towards weight reduction due to an outdated organic play e-book.  If our ancestors misplaced weight, it was to not look good for a marriage or due to bathing go well with season. Again then, weight reduction was both due to sickness or an interrupted meals provide. Merely put, defending towards weight reduction was defending towards loss of life.  

Within the final 30 years we’ve got realized how the mind does this. The mind is knowledgeable at 1) recognizing fats loss, 2) defending towards fats loss, and three) selling weight regain. The mind does this by:  

a) rising urge for food – the motivation for calorie consumption

b) reducing metabolic price

Elevated urge for food appears to be extra complicit than slower metabolism in weight regain. Elevated urge for food, within the type of an elevated motivation to eat, results in elevated total calorie consumption, which in flip results in weight regain.

A reminder, the remaining causes for weight regain function by way of the primary mechanism, biology. 


The following widespread cause for weight regain pertains to weight-reduction plan.  Word that weight-reduction plan will not be an efficient methodology of stopping weight regain. As a substitute, the three pillars to stopping weight regain are behavioural remedy, remedy, and surgical procedure. Merely put, the chance of weight acquire is larger the extra “diet-like” the weight-loss methodology. Particularly:

a) if the weight-loss effort concerned a dedication to a decreased calorie consumption that was unsustainable.

b) if the weight-loss effort concerned a dedication to a degree and kind of effort that was unsustainable.

c) if the weight-loss effort didn’t settle for and contain a acutely aware dedication to the worth of enjoyable, meals, drink, pals, socialization, and journey.

The best predictor of thwarting weight regain is sustained adherence to the tactic used to shed weight. The above strategies predict poor adherence.  Additionally they predict that for somebody dropping an excessive amount of weight, going to a weight decrease than what’s sustainable, weight reduction shall be overwhelmed by biology.

Thus, we’ve got the definition of greatest weight. One’s greatest weight is arrived at by committing to the alternative of weight-reduction plan. Greatest weight is found by committing to 1) a sustainable calorie degree, 2) at a sustainable effort, 3) whereas accepting a acutely aware dedication to the worth of enjoyable, meals, drink, pals, socialization, and journey. Greatest weight is the burden you softly land at when committing to a life-style that’s, by definition, sustainable.


The following and fairly poorly understood cause for weight regain is a sustained change in a single’s total setting. A standard present instance of this might be somebody who was working in an workplace and is now working of their house, or the alternative: somebody who was working at house and now could be working at an workplace.  One other instance is somebody who, throughout weight reduction, prevented high-risk settings for the aim of weight reduction and now inevitably is re-engaging in these setting. For instance somebody who prevented social setting or eating places briefly only for the aim of weight reduction. The cues in our bodily and social environments set off the organic response of urge for food – wanting – the unconscious motivation to eat.  If the cues skilled throughout weight reduction change, weight regain can observe.


Anti-obesity medicines (AOMs) work by defending towards a person’s biology. AOMs defend towards elevated urge for food and dampen the unconscious motivation for calorie consumption (wanting).  If AOMs are discontinued or poorly complied with, the defence towards weight regain is misplaced and the biology does the remaining.  


A extremely underestimated cause for weight regain is in a person’s response to “weight reduction setbacks.” Widespread weight reduction setbacks embrace 1) the aftermath of off-track consuming and/or ingesting episodes, and a pair of) the moments after seeing a quantity on a scale not in a single’s favour. Until efficient behavioural remedy has been supplied, these setbacks might usually be adopted by detrimental self-critical ideas and detrimental feelings together with demotivation.  But it’s exactly when one is at a decrease weight that they’re most topic to their organic drivers of weight regain and almost certainly to expertise over-consuming and unfavourable scale outcomes. Screening for and treating these unhelpful cognitive responses is a crucial a part of understanding and addressing weight regain. To reiterate, that is in all probability essentially the most underestimated non-biological complication of weight reduction.


Weight acquire generally is a potential critical facet impact of many generally used medicines. Some medicines extra generally trigger weight acquire than others, and important inter-individual variations exist. Weight regain could also be brought on by the addition of a weight-promoting remedy and if potential, a substitution might be made for an alternate remedy that’s extra weight impartial.


Lastly, there’s a finite record of inner states that will promote weight regain.  It’s intuitive to most that stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, depressed temper, and decrease ranges of exercise might promote weight regain. For a lot of people, particularly in a state of decreased physique weight, every of those components can enhance wanting, the motivation to eat, and reduce self-regulation expertise (restraint). If somebody is regaining weight, it’s crucial to display for every of those modulators and to acknowledge how a change in any of those could also be resulting in greater calorie consumption and weight regain.

For clinicians, and for many who wrestle with weight, I hope this record is useful.

David Macklin, MD

Toronto, CND

In regards to the writer: David A. Macklin, MD, is a lecturer on the College of Toronto and a College of Toronto skilled household doctor. He has practiced weight problems medication since 2004. He’s the Medical Director of the Weight Administration Program on the Toronto Medcan Clinic and co-author of the Canadian ACTION Research and the Psychology and Behavioural Remedy Chapter of the 2020 Canadian Medical Apply Tips for the remedy of Weight problems in adults.



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