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On the Rebound

Por Eleazar Lara-Pantin, MD, MSc.* -
On the Rebound

We often hear people say their weight ‘rebounded’ when describing what happened after they gave up a diet or stopped taking an appetite suppressant or fat burner. Normally, people regain the weight they lost through these "treatments" very quickly. In most cases, they end up even heavier than before they started.

These rebounds occur because traditional diets and products you can buy to suppress your appetite or burn fat are actually false solutions to a highly complex problem. Their effects will always be temporary. They will only be effective for as long as you can bear the misery of a restrictive diet, or the huge expense of buying pills, special mixes, or herbs to brew the latest tea you’ve been recommended. When you return to your old eating habits, your body has no choice but to turn the surplus calories into fat.

Easily abandoned diets

Nobody can stick to the severe restrictions of traditional diets for very long. Their many restrictions might make you lose some of those bothersome extra pounds. However, these diets are impossible to stick to. This means that, sooner or later, everyone gives up on these kinds of diets and returns to eating the way they did before. The same happens with products that are supposed to magically solve your weight problem without demanding any effort on your part. That is why I call them "false solutions." They don’t really solve anything. On the contrary, they exacerbate the problem by creating a vicious circle of weight gain and loss. This in turn generates new frustrations, which further complicate the emotional state that comes with being overweight.

Another factor contributing to rebounds is the fast results traditional diets and diet aids deliver. However, keep in mind that the faster you lose weight, the greater the probability that you will bounce back to being heavier than before you started.

Steps to avoid rebounding

A condition as risky as obesity should always be treated through real solutions with proven effectiveness over time and that do not pose any risks associated with the aforementioned treatments. Real solutions have four things in common:

  • A balanced diet without excess  
  • A regular exercise program
  • The guarantee that you will gradually lose weight
  • The possibility of maintaining your new weight without rebounding

Lose weight permanently

A balanced diet without excess should be a positive goal, not a reason to reject one’s own body image. It should be quite easy because it never means giving up all our favorite food. It just means varying the components of our diet, practicing moderation in serving sizes, and being smart when preparing meals.

A regular exercise program does not have to be unpleasant or unnecessarily difficult. On the contrary, it should mean making a habit of doing the physical activity we most enjoy, several times a week, for as long as possible and according to our individual capabilities.

Doing these things is the best guarantee for losing weight gradually (no more than 2 to 4 pounds a week) until you reach your target. Improving your diet by changing incorrect habits, and putting an end to the sedentary lifestyle that helped you become overweight will help prevent rebounding. By following these basic principles you can avoid the pitfalls of fad diets and costly weight loss products.

A rebound is the clearest sign we took the wrong measures to lose weight.

*Dr. Lara-Pantin, a nutrition specialist, is Vice President of Product Development for DrTango, Inc.


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