top of page

How weight regain works and why not to worry about it | Balance

Winter and the festive season often come with one thought that tries to rob you of all the joy you're supposed to experience this time of the year; “I’m going to lose all of my progress and regain all the weight / bodyfat I’ve lost (this year)”

The prospect of this is can be quite a debilitating anxiety for some, restricting them from social events, food experiences, worsening their relationship with food and self and even contributing to the development (or furtherment) of disordered eating / eating disorders.

Understanding how weight change works and how rapidly you can regain “real” weight (in reference to bodyfat) can help to put your mind at ease and free you from these worries so that’s exactly what we’ll be covering today.

How weight change works

Outside of changing body composition at a steady weight (described as “body recomposition”), almost all contributions to body fat gain (and also why body fat has been lost) can be explained by changes in body weight.

If we gain weight (especially over time), it is likely that some of that will be fat gain. However, short term changes in weight, which many associate with fat gain, can be down to a whole host of reasons, including;

  • Changes in levels of sex hormones

  • Increased fibre and food volume intake

  • Needing to go to the bathroom

  • Changes in body water

  • Inflammation (either by injury, exercise induced damage or some other contributor)

More gradual change in bodyweight is a greater indicator of “real” weight gain i.e. increases in lean body mass, fat mass, bone density etc.

As it relates to lean body / muscle mass and fat mass (and in some context dependant cases, bone density), changes in these groups is dependent on a very basic principle; energy in vs. energy out.

Or, if you’re more familiar with this equation; calories in vs. calories out.

Quite simply, if your goal is to lose weight, then you’d need to consume less calories than the number required to maintain your weight.

If your goal is to gain weight then you’d need to consume more calories than required to maintain.

If your aim is to maintain your weight