It’s no secret that losing weight is big business. And when you consider that an estimated 45 million Americans are on a diet at any given time, it comes as no surprise that weight loss from dieting is often temporary. That’s why choosing a nutrition program that focuses on permanent changes rather than the number on the scale is so important.
But how do you know if your weight loss is on the right track? INSIDER asked the experts to give us the inside scoop on the 10 signs your weight loss is temporary.
Your diet is too restrictive.
Often the first sign that your weight loss is temporary is following a diet that’s not sustainable. “If you decided to lose weight by crash dieting, fasting or cutting major food groups out of your diet, you might lose weight, however when you resume a more typical eating plan, the weight will return,” Dr. Olivia Rose, ND told INSIDER.
Plus, if you go too low on your macronutrients and calories; your weight loss won’t be sustainable. “Your metabolism will slow, you’ll require less and less food to sustain your weight, and you’ll eventually begin to experience increased hunger, which could lead to a binge,” Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition told INSIDER.
You’re irritable all the time.
Losing weight is supposed to make you feel better, right? Well, if your weight loss is happening at a fast and furious pace, you’re more prone to being irritable.
“Irritability comes with the territory of weight loss for some people, especially when the diet isn’t balanced with enough protein and carbohydrate and when you’re depriving yourself of the foods you enjoy,” said Rose.
You haven’t dealt with the mental and emotional aspects of your weight gain.
If you have physical or psychological trauma you’re living with, or if you’re stuck in an emotional eating pattern, Rose said this can be a sign that you may lose weight temporarily on a specific plan, but you may gain back the weight once your weight loss plan is over.
“It’s always beneficial to seek out a cognitive behaviour therapist who can help you with strategies to combat emotional eating patterns so that your weight loss can be part of a more permanent lifestyle,” she added.
Your clothes don’t fit differently.
Dr. Charlie Seltzer, MD, DABOM, CEP, a specialist in Obesity Medicine told INSIDER that five pounds of fat WILL change the way your clothes fit. “If the scale is down, but you need to tell people you’re losing weight (vs. them telling you), the loss will not be permanent,” he explained. In other words, use your clothes as a guide to determine how effective your diet is.
You took on too much at once.
Have you ever noticed there’s always a honeymoon period when you start a diet? It’s typically during this short window of time that you feel like you can tackle (and stick with) all of the rules. Unfortunately, this attitude often comes to an end.
“Most diets ask for us to overhaul our entire lives in a weekend,” certified personal trainer, Brandice Lardner, explained to INSIDER. “The way we shop, cook, and eat all have to change – in an instant. However, we change in stages and not sweeps. If you’re feeling overwhelmed after starting a new diet, it’s not your fault. Take a step back and work on changing one thing at a time.
You don’t have a plan for maintenance after weight loss.
Ask anyone with experience losing and gaining weight, and there’s a good chance they will tell you that losing the weight is not nearly as hard as keeping it off.
“Not having a long-term exercise and nutrition plan to maintain your weight loss will generally lead to gaining back all of the weight,” certified personal trainer, Armen T. Ghazarians told INSIDER.
You see this most in people who can’t wait for their diet to be over. Rather than focusing on a lifestyle change, they’re only thinking about losing the weight as quickly as possible so they can stop their diet.
You’re not toning up or gaining muscle.
Losing scale weight is one thing, but changing the composition of your body is what helps with long-term weight loss.
“If you don’t see your body look more toned, your weight loss is likely just muscle mass,” explained Auslander Moreno. “Which means, you aren’t doing enough weight-bearing exercises to build muscle or you aren’t taking in enough calories, fat, and protein,” she added.
You’re cutting out entire food groups.
Does your diet have a long list of foods that are off limits? “Cutting out entire food groups is one of the reasons so many weight loss plans work – temporarily,” said Lardner. “Making sweeping changes like cutting out entire food groups means you’re leaving a void of calories in your diet that leads to weight loss,” she explained.
However, Lardner reminded us that these plans are very difficult to keep up with long-term and weight is often regained (along with mental diet baggage about that particular food group).
You don’t like the food you’re eating.
If you love to eat (and who doesn’t?) it can be difficult to say goodbye to your favourite comfort foods in order to lose weight.
“While you may be able to ‘suck it up’ and live off boring and tasteless food for a little while, soon enough you’re going to want delicious and satisfying meals,” said Lardner. That’s why it’s better to incorporate some foods you enjoy into your weight loss plan and learn how to cook healthy, tasty meals.
You have all-or-nothing thinking.
How many times do you promise yourself to start your diet on Monday, only to be off of it by Wednesday? “If you’re either ‘on or ‘off’ your diet, then it’s almost guaranteed that your weight loss is temporary,” said Lardner. No one can eat perfectly every single day, every meal.
“Accept that slips happen and determine to get right back on track the moment you notice you’ve veered,” she added.
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