Visitor Submit: Causes For Weight Regain


At this time’s Visitor Submit comes from my buddy and colleague David Macklin, MD, Toronto

Not way back I obtained a message from a colleague on the lookout for assist with a affected person who was regaining weight. As I thought of my response, it occurred to me that there needs to 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 prefer to thank Arya for suggesting that I share this record together with his readership.  

An vital notice relating to this record:  Motive primary is an important and most typical cause for weight regain. The opposite causes could make the first cause extra sophisticated.


The first cause for weight regain is biology. The mind defends in opposition to weight reduction due to an outdated organic play ebook.  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 in opposition to weight reduction was defending in opposition to dying.  

Within the final 30 years we now have discovered how the mind does this. The mind is professional at 1) recognizing fats loss, 2) defending in opposition to fats loss, and three) selling weight regain. The mind does this by:  

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

b) lowering metabolic charge

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 general calorie consumption, which in flip results in weight regain.

A reminder, the remaining causes for weight regain function by means of the principle mechanism, biology. 


The subsequent frequent cause for weight regain pertains to weight-reduction plan.  Notice 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 sort of effort that was unsustainable.

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

The best predictor of thwarting weight regain is sustained adherence to the tactic used to reduce 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 now have the definition of greatest weight. One’s greatest weight is arrived at by committing to the alternative of weight-reduction plan. Finest weight is found by committing to 1) a sustainable calorie degree, 2) at a sustainable effort, 3) whereas accepting a aware dedication to the worth of enjoyable, meals, drink, mates, socialization, and journey. Finest weight is the burden you softly land at when committing to a way of life that’s, by definition, sustainable.


The subsequent and quite poorly understood cause for weight regain is a sustained change in a single’s general atmosphere. A standard present instance of this might be somebody who was working in an workplace and is now working of their residence, or the alternative: somebody who was working at residence and now’s 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 quickly 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 in opposition to a person’s biology. AOMs defend in opposition to elevated urge for food and dampen the unconscious motivation for calorie consumption (wanting).  If AOMs are discontinued or poorly complied with, the defence in opposition to 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.” Frequent weight reduction setbacks embrace 1) the aftermath of off-track consuming and/or ingesting episodes, and a couple of) the moments after seeing a quantity on a scale not in a single’s favour. Except efficient behavioural remedy has been offered, these setbacks might typically be adopted by unfavourable self-critical ideas and unfavourable 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 most definitely 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 most likely probably the most underestimated non-biological complication of weight reduction.


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


Lastly, there’s a finite record of inside states which 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 improve wanting, the motivation to eat, and reduce self-regulation abilities (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 increased calorie consumption and weight regain.

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

David Macklin, MD

Toronto, CND

In regards to the creator: 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 drugs since 2004. He’s the Medical Director of the Weight Administration Program on the Toronto Medcan Clinic and co-author of the Canadian ACTION Examine and the Psychology and Behavioural Remedy Chapter of the 2020 Canadian Scientific Observe Pointers for the therapy of Weight problems in adults.


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