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As one loses weight does it become more difficult to maintain weight loss? Do you need to have an increasingly greater deficit as you weigh less?

As one loses weight does it become more difficult to maintain weight loss? Do you need to have an increasingly greater deficit as you weigh less?

Answer: There are some scientists who believe in individual “set points,” which may explain the difficulty many people experience when it comes to maintaining weight loss.  Practically speaking, your “set-point” is influenced by your attitudes towards eating and activity and your appetite/satiety. That said, many people do successfully maintain weight loss by becoming “addicted” to the lifestyle that allowed them to reach their goal.

The more weight you lose and the more fit you become, the harder it may be to continue to lose weight. This is normal.  It is not that you need to strive for an increasingly greater deficit, but you may find it more difficult to achieve your desired deficit. There are factors that work against you and make continuous fat loss challenging. As you get fit, you use fewer calories to do anything. It is similar to tuning-up your car; when it runs better, it gets better gas mileage and uses less fuel. Exercise causes the body to increase efficiency of its systems as well, leading to less fuel, in this case fat, being used. With weight loss we have a good news/bad news scenario. The good news is you lost weight! The bad news is you weigh less, so anything you do becomes easier from a calorie burning perspective. It is considerably easier to move 150 lbs for 40 minutes than it is to move 175 lbs. These little adaptations can lower your daily calorie burning, chipping away at your deficit.

So, what can you do? Changes in exercise and daily activity are the most realistic options. Never letting the body get used to one way of working out can help you maximize your calorie burning during and after a workout. Changes to the intensity, length of time, type and number of days can keep your calorie burning high. Also, now is not the time to start getting lax with food intake. Little cheats lead to bigger and more frequent cheats. This can add a few hundred calories (what you burn in a cardio session) to your daily intake very easily. Lastly, supplementation at this time may offer a means for maintaining an energy deficit by increasing your 24 hour energy burn and/or decreasing the amount of food you eat.

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