What’s up with that? Julie Upton, R.D., says it’s just in our DNA. Back in caveman times when we were hunter-gatherers, food was scarce. And if our bodies didn’t keep our appetites high when we lost weight, we could have died of malnutrition.
Luckily, things have changed and we no longer have to depend on a good wooly mammoth hunt for food. "Since we have an abundance of food available to us 24/7, our genes work against us by trying to keep our weight stable, even when we have excess body fat to lose," Upton says.
This, the researchers concluded, helps explain why it’s so tough to lose weight and keep it off: You’re freaking hungry. But here's how you can fight your body’s urge to put weight on after you've worked hard to lose it.
1. Track your weight and food intake. To keep kilos off, you've got to be vigilent. Monitor how often you're going to the gym, write down what you're eating, and occasionally check in with the scale to make sure you're on track, she says.
2. Lift weights and eat protein. "When you lose weight, you often lose muscle mass," Upton says. "To retain more lean tissue—which has a higher metabolic rate than fat—you want to lift weights." Gaining more muscle can help boost your metabolism. So even if you have the urge to eat more, your body will burn it off more efficiently, she says. Increasing your protein intake to 30 grams per meal can also help you maintain lean muscle.
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3. Eat a fibre-rich diet. Skip the fad diets and focus on eating a veggie-based diet. Plant-based foods have lots of filling fibre and water to help keep you satisfied, so you feel fuller with less calories. "Foods like fruits, veggies, water, and soup have all been shown to help keep people satisfied when cutting back on calories," Upton says.