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Lose Weight or Maintain Weight Loss?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Are you wanting to lose weight? Reduce body fat? Are you already in weight maintenance mode, not wanting to regain? Depending on your answer, the strategies to success could be as different as umm, well more different than identical twins, that’s for sure.

Twin sisters Alexandra & KymberlyHaving just attended the Fitness Health Bloggers Conference at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center (part of the University of Colorado Denver Medical Campus), we had the privilege to hear directly from professors on the front lines of weight loss, obesity, diet, and exercise research.

A presentation on weight loss versus weight management from Dr. Holly Wyatt caught our well-toned ears in particular. One thing we knew before hearing her talk: the advice out there is confusing, overwhelming, seemingly contradictory, and — judging by the ever-rising obesity rates — not actually working. Yet, as Dr. Wyatt asserts, “people have the education and information they need to meet weight loss goals. It’s the motivation to get started and stick with it over time that is so challenging.”

Whatzzat? We know what to do but we just don’t do it? Well, wave your hands in the air as if you just DO care, because we distilled the absolute most cutting edge, verified, helpful highlights on diet and exercise to say sayonara to extra weight once and for all.

First, define whether you are in loss or management mode.

Doomed I tell you

Pack My Kibbles Stat!

Apparently past strategies have not distinguished between these two phases, which spells doom worse than the last place finisher in a spelling bee. (Alexandra beat Kymberly in the famous North School 4th Grade Twin Challenge Spell Off. All for the lack of a vowel in the word “vacuum.” No Kymberly is not bitter about it. Still. After all these years. Vacuums suck suck suck).

Key differences between Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance:

  1. Weight Loss (WL)  requires a Time Limited “Diet” vs Lifelong Lifestyle for Weight Maintenance (WM).
  2. You need to achieve negative energy balance vs retain energy balance at the reduced body weight (or body fat).
  3. For WL create a deficit of 500-1000 kcal p/day) vs WM which needs you to Fill Energy gap (300-500).
  4. With WL it’s hard to achieve sufficient levels of activity to create energy deficit vs. Hard to maintain caloric restriction with WM.
  5. Easier to LOSE WEIGHT because it’s easier to reduce caloric intake; To maintain loss requires bigger effort of physical activity.
  6. With WL the composition of the diet is not particularly important (more on this provocative statement later) vs Diet Composition is important with WM.
  7. Losing weight is exciting. Everyone wants to know what you are doing and talk about the loss with you; Maintaining loss is rather boring. No enthralling conversation was ever centered around “Yup, still the same weight as yesterday and last week.”

Ok, so you have put yourself in the correct phase of your journey. Now what? Well, you have to wait for the Cliff Hanger Notes in our next post as this post is getting rather long. Bazinga neener neener. However, we’ll leave you with a few tantalizing tidbits and memorable quotes to tide you over.

    • “If you are trying to lose weight do you want the method that is the EASIEST? FASTEST? BEST? You have many ways to drop pounds successfully, depending on your individual priorities,” claims medical doctor Holly Wyatt.
    • “You can’t lose weight forever. No one can go to zero pounds. So you have to look at maintenance strategies no matter what.”

To lose weigh, what is the best diet?

  • And lastly from researcher Wyatt, who is in the thick and thin of things, “What is the most important aspect of a successful weight loss diet?”

Come back next time to hear, ya hear?

Readers: Which phase are you in? Weight Loss? Weight Maintenance? Weight Gain? Fat Gain? (Yes, people with those last two goals do exist. Somewhere.) Are you thinking, “This is all very research-y and so on, but I just want to lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks?” Or possibly you’re nowhere near maintenance, and have a weight loss goal to lose 100 pounds before you consider anything that comes after that. Let us know. 

Disclosure: Refuel with Chocolate Milk  provided us with a scholarship for the conference registration: FitFluential made it possible for us to be session speakers and panel moderators. All opinions are our own though we are free about sharing them! 

Get edu-tained on your way to better fitness. Subscribe to our YouTube channel. Subscribe to our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

Photo credit for kitty: Cheezburger
Slides credit: Dr. Holly Wyatt

About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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24 Responses to Lose Weight or Maintain Weight Loss?

  1. Evelyn July 5, 2012 at 5:14 am #

    Hey A and K!

    This is a very interesting article! I’m glad you shared this information because people need to know the difference and there is a difference.

    There are some diets that will help you get the pounds off quickly, but they really do nothing to help with maintaining the weight loss. Maintaining is the key!

    At this time, I want to lose about 9 pounds. I don’t have a time frame, but maybe the weight I’m at now is where I am meant to be. I know if I keep exercising and eating right, then I will eventually lose some weight.

    Awesome information!

    • AlexandraFunFit July 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Hey Evelyn, you are so right that maintaining is the key. And I know I’ve been trying to get rid of 5 pounds for a while. A nutrition expert said that I am probably where I’m meant to be. So I guess I should just let it go…..
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Fitness Health Bloggers Conference: Staying Fit While TravelingMy Profile

    • Clare April 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

      Regarding weight loss, I actually read somewhere, and it seems pretty true, that is is 20% exercise and 80% diet. So even if you work like a dog, but eat like a pig, there really won’t be any difference, or even worse, you might be gaining instead of losing.

      I have been eating healthy, get do a good 45 minutes of Zumba fr about a month now, and I have lost a bit on the weighing scale, but can’t seem to get rid of my belly fat. Is it too soon to expect results? any advice?

      Clare recently posted..Jessica Alba’s Beauty Secret : Get Her Glowing Skin Right From Your Kitchen With Her DIY Face ScrubMy Profile

  2. Tamara July 5, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Apparently I now possess ‘twin telepathy’.
    Great post (and great minds think alike!)

    Quick, what number am I thinking of right now? (And what will I post about tomorrow?)
    Tamara recently posted..Weight loss vs. weight loss maintenance: different strategies for different goalsMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit July 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      Great minds DO think alike. I hope Kymberly doesn’t feel left out….
      You are thinking of the number 3, as that’s how twins we now are. I’ll let you figure out the logic of that.
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Lose 2 Pounds in 2 DaysMy Profile

  3. Elle July 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    Wow! That is a lot to think about… I have been in maintain mode for about a hundred years now but every so often a few creep up and I get rid of them! These are good points you share here.

    Especially that maintenance is life long!
    Elle recently posted..My Wonderful WednesdayMy Profile

  4. Coco July 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    This is so important! I think one reason people tend to gain back weight is that they think they are “done” and go back to their old habits. The mantra I adopted for maintaining my weight loss was: If I go back to my old ways, I’ll get back to my old weight. Catchy, eh? And, the part about maintenance be boring is so true, especially after months and months of seeing the numbers on the scale go down. How hard it is to stay motivated when the best you can hope for is the same number? I tried to adopt fitness goals instead, but now I am getting to a point where I can’t run farther or faster. Hmmm.
    Coco recently posted..Race Recap: PVTC Go Fourth 8K 2012My Profile

  5. Jody - Fit at 54 July 5, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    So you & Tamara both wrote about this today so I copied my answer from her site to you! :-)

    Maintenance to me is harder than the losing it, I think for many, it sets in that the habits they adopted to lose weight actually have to be maintained for life & that is a hard pill to swallow for many when their thought process was about losing & then being able to eat again That is just not gonna happen. Yes, you can adopt strategies to treat yourself but long term, you are going to have to keep on moving as you wrote & being mindful of what you eat is always going to be part of it!

    I have lots of experience on this maintenance like you ladies & as you know, the older we get, the harder maintenance is & we really have to be diligent – at least I have too! ;-)

    Great post!
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted..Oh Crap, She’s Up!My Profile

  6. Kierston July 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Great post! Thank you for sharing!
    Kierston recently posted..I Am a Spartan BEAST Warrior!!!My Profile

  7. Charissa July 5, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    I love this post – the cat picture, haha…it just makes me happy! :)

    The maintaining/losing weight chart is spot on…love it!
    Charissa recently posted..Fourth of July DessertsMy Profile

  8. Mariella Lombardi July 6, 2012 at 2:35 am #

    Great post! There is a lot to consider when it comes to maintaining the weight loss and I think most people don’t realize how important this is. Losing weight is the first stage only.
    Mariella Lombardi recently posted..Negative Calorie Foods – Eat As Much As You Want and Still Lose WeightMy Profile

  9. evilcyber July 6, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    “People have the education and information they need to meet weight loss goals”.

    Do they? Many, many people fail at correctly estimating how much they eat. That was so 30 years ago,

    and is the same today: “Even well-trained individuals may struggle with caloric estimation. For instance, when shown photographs and portion sizes of common meals such as lasagna, a hamburger with onion rings, and a tuna salad sandwich, a sample of registered dietitians underestimated caloric levels by 200 to 600 calories”.
    evilcyber recently posted..FDA Approves Belviq As Weight Loss DrugMy Profile

  10. Shira July 6, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    Great post, ladies! Weight loss and weight maintenance are very different phases. I’ve been in maintenance for nearly 20 years, but I still have to revert back to weight loss tactics whenever a few extra pounds boomerang back.
    Shira recently posted..Walk Like the AmishMy Profile

  11. Lolo, Fitness Space July 9, 2012 at 7:06 am #

    Thanks for this clarifying post, I lost weight through stress and not eating enough, so would be through the first column. But now I am trying to just eat and excercise correclty in order to maintain weightloss.
    Lolo, Fitness Space recently posted..Jogging Strollers Are Fun For KidsMy Profile

  12. dr oz cambogia May 5, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    Green tea is another natural product that can help burn calories and decrease the
    amount of body fat. Journal Devote Entire Issue to Alternative Medicine.
    Since there is no single excess weight reduction supplement that can actually support everybody shed undesirable weight with no any kinds
    of adverse effects.
    dr oz cambogia recently posted..dr oz cambogiaMy Profile

  13. Robbie August 6, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    You should eat a lot green vegetables and fruits regularly in order to lose weight. You should keep records of your monthly weight.

  14. Lucille Short September 22, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

    I’m glad I stumbled into this blog! It’s like what they say in most secret to life books… you already know it but you need to be reminded of it. And this is true… the secret to really keeping an ideal weight that is healthier than what we think is healthy lies in the efforts of maintaining for the long term. That is the real challenge… thanks! It’s a very good reminder!


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