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! 

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

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