Why is it easier to succeed in losing weight but difficult to maintain?

Losing fat shows faster and more noticeable results compared to gaining muscle, making it easier to see the effects However, why is it so difficult to maintain and achieve an ideal body composition?

The Best Way to Lose Weight and Maintain It

It’s actually very simple, mainly due to two reasons.

The first is those who solely lose weight by starving themselves, and the second is those whose lifestyle habits and dietary habits have not changed.

For those who simply lose weight by starving themselves, the main method of successful weight loss is reducing calorie intake. If you want to maintain such a body shape, you have to stay in a state of hunger for a long time. However, there is an important consideration to take into account: as you age, your metabolism will slow down. In other words, if you want to maintain your slim figure for a long period of time, you have to reduce your calorie intake even more, in other words, eat less. This creates a “vicious cycle” and is basically impossible to sustain, so weight rebound is inevitable.

The other type of people are those who lose weight through a combination of scientific exercise and a healthy diet. However, they can only maintain their weight loss for a period of time, and the reason is also simple: they completely return to their previous unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits. In this case, regaining weight is only a matter of time.

In the past, when I answered questions about weight loss and fat reduction on Zhihu, I often mentioned various methods. However, as time went on and I gained more insights into fitness, I gradually realized that the best way to lose weight is to gradually change one’s lifestyle and eating habits. After developing good habits, then incorporate some scientific exercise methods. This is the most effective way to achieve results with less effort.

Here, I will share some habits and methods that I have found useful during my 5 years of fitness:

  1. Drink more water, at least 800ml per day, preferably plain water!

  2. Don’t stay up late, go to bed before 11pm! Yes, it’s difficult to change for night owls, so change little by little. Start by ensuring you sleep before 12am, then gradually move it to 11:30pm, and finally before 11pm. Stick to this for a month, and you will see changes!

  3. Stand for half an hour after meals, you can play with your phone, do housework, chat with people while standing, just stand and move more.

  4. A diet with less salt, less oil, and less sugar is very healthy, but it’s difficult for modern people to achieve. As I said before, change little by little. Start by reducing take-out and cooking for yourself, then reduce drinking milk tea and eating desserts, reduce stocking up snacks at home, and reduce the amount of salt in your meals… Basically, you need to start doing something.

  5. Find a sport that you relatively like and can easily implement, do it for 5 minutes every day. It can be walking, skipping rope, playing badminton, doing aerobics… Just exercise for 5 minutes and gradually develop the habit of exercising.

  6. If possible, fast lightly for a day each week. Do not eat after 4pm until the next morning at 8am. 12 hours is enough.

  7. For those who are too busy with work and have no time to exercise, consider changing your mode of transportation, such as cycling to work, getting off the subway one station earlier and walking to the office, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator… Try to integrate exercise into your work and life.

These are the ones I can think of for now. If there are any new good methods in the future, I will add them.

As for how to lose weight and how to eat, you can check out my previous responses:

How can I quickly lose belly fat? Is running the best method to eliminate visceral fat? Are there any effective methods for slimming legs? What exercises can improve the appearance of a woman’s back? What are some low-fat snacks or meal replacements recommended?

I am Wen Xiaojie, 30 years old when I started working out. I worked at a bank for 9 years and now I am a freelancer after quitting my job. I motivated my husband to exercise with me and we both lost 20 pounds. I successfully reduced my body fat twice in the past ten years. Although I took some detours, I am glad that I have learned and now I’m on the right track! I am happy to share my fitness experience, so remember to check out my profile!

Why do people regain weight after losing it?

Why does weight loss lead to weight regain? - Q&A Series for Friends

As a fitness coach with 6 years of experience, I will answer this question!

Because your lifestyle is still that of an overweight person, you will gain weight!! First of all, you need to have the concept that obesity is a result of lifestyle, and only when your lifestyle changes can you completely bid farewell to obesity.

Now let’s discuss: Weight loss without changing lifestyle is called the “yo-yo” diet! Don’t ignore one thing when losing weight—natural weight? How to prevent weight regain after successful weight loss?

I. Weight loss without changing lifestyle is called the “yo-yo” diet! I think those who have read my articles may have noticed a term: “yo-yo.” What is the “yo-yo” diet?

The yo-yo effect is a concept proposed by Kelly D. Brownell, a doctor from Yale University, in 1986, based on extensive experimental observation. It refers to the phenomenon of rapid weight loss and quick rebound caused by excessive dieting by weight loss seekers, resulting in fluctuations in weight—losing weight, regaining weight, then losing weight again. This phenomenon is very similar to the movement curve of a yo-yo, so it is also called the yo-yo diet effect.

Why do many weight loss seekers go through this cycle?

  1. Impatience Many, or even most, weight loss seekers never consider the principles of weight loss; they blindly set goals for themselves, like losing 20 or 30 kilograms in a month. In fact, these methods of blindly reducing weight result in a loss of a large amount of muscle and water.

  2. Lack of planning in the weight loss process For example, if you want to lose weight, how many kilograms do you want to lose? How much do you want your waist, hips, and thighs to slim down? For example, how should you go from weighing 105 kilograms to weighing 100 kilograms in a month? Only by measuring your body dimensions and weight on a weekly basis can you determine if your weight loss plan is feasible. Only by keeping track of your progress can you have the motivation to continue.

  3. Unclear which stage of weight loss you are in Weight loss usually has several stages, namely, the fat loss phase, muscle building phase, and stabilization phase. To achieve quick results, most people skip the muscle building phase and jump straight from the fat loss phase to the stabilization phase, ignoring the need for muscle growth to transform into a lean physique.

So, my friends who experience weight regain after weight loss, check to see if you fall into any of the above points. If you don’t make thorough lifestyle changes during rapid weight loss, then you will continue with the “yo-yo diet.”

II. Don’t ignore one thing when losing weight—natural weight? The so-called natural weight can be understood as the weight the body naturally reaches without overeating or intentionally regulating diet.

In competitive sports, some athletes perform better after losing weight, while others excel after gaining muscle and weight.

The most important factor depends on how long they can maintain their weight at this level and at what weight their bodies feel healthiest and most comfortable.

So why is it said that it’s better to start losing weight early? Because the body has inertia. If you have been overweight for a long time, your body will adapt to the negative effects of obesity. When you start losing weight, your body instinctively perceives the sudden caloric deficit as an unhealthy behavior.

So how does the body resist? If you eat less, you experience insomnia, discomfort, hunger pangs, anxiety, and irritability.

That’s why when we coaches design fat loss and weight loss training for clients, we always learn about their natural weight.

For example, a woman is 40 years old and currently weighs 140 kilograms.

How many years has she maintained a weight of 140 kilograms? And how many years has she been 120 kilograms?

If she says she was 120 kilograms before turning 30, then 130 kilograms from the age of 30 to 35, and recently gained to 140 kilograms, we can make a preliminary judgment:

Reducing weight from 140 to 130 kilograms in a short period is not difficult.

Dropping below 130 kilograms is the first hurdle, as this number has been maintained for over 5 years.

Lowering it to below 120 kilograms is very unrealistic, as it has been maintained for over 10 years.

There are indeed many people who have already become very strong in terms of cardio and strict dietary control, but they still find it difficult to reach their desired body fat percentage and weight.

Because the body’s natural weight, maintained for 5, 10, or even over 20 years, cannot be changed significantly within a year or two of systematic training, unless you have exceptional physical abilities and have received systematic training since childhood, or if you combine your efforts with technological advancements.

If not, it will take three to five years or more of hard work to potentially change the body’s natural weight setting.

When many people hear that it takes three to five years to lose weight, they immediately give up. But as ordinary people, we cannot avoid the concept of “natural weight” when it comes to weight loss and fat reduction!

The longer you have been overweight, the harder it is to overcome it! The harder it is to change. So, don’t wait until you have maintained a high weight for over 10 years to start your weight loss journey, as it will become increasingly difficult.

Regarding weight regain, as mentioned above, if you have been overweight for so many years and try to break your body’s setting in just a few months, the result will be weight rebound.

III. How to prevent weight regain after successful weight loss?

  1. Establish a strong mental foundation Do not turn exercise, low-calorie diets, and other things into tasks that are obviously demanding. In our minds, when there’s demand, we tend to seek reward, which brings us back to the concept of the “yo-yo” effect. Instead, make exercise and diet a normal part of your lifestyle.

  2. Consistently exercise 2-3 times or more per week Choose the exercise methods you like, challenge different types of exercises, and develop a liking for them! Exercise itself is not a big deal, but maintaining exercise in the long run has positive effects on our physiology and psychology, which can be reflected in our lifestyle.

  3. Combine reality and avoid excessively pursuing the perfect figure portrayed on the screen Even if there are highly effective methods to reduce weight and excess fat through exercise, they will only help you shed “excess” weight and fat but cannot transform you into the ultra-thin figures seen in fashion magazines. So, if you don’t aspire to the athletic body type but prefer skinny legs, exercise might not be the best choice for you.

Are the perfect figures displayed in media photos achieved through exercise? Yes and no. First of all, a perfect figure requires a perfect skeletal structure. Secondly, exercise is only part of the means. Thirdly, the photos in the media show individuals in their peak condition, not their everyday state.

Now let me explain in detail with a case:

Today, I received a consultation from Xiaoya. Xiaoya said, “Coach, I want to confess my feelings to my Mr. Right on New Year’s Day, and I want to lose 30 kilograms before then.” Looking back at Xiaoya’s experience with weight loss, it has been a continuous cycle of weight loss, weight regain, and weight loss again. She also wants to avoid regaining weight after losing it but couldn’t find a method.

After comprehensively evaluating Xiaoya’s situation, I formulated a training plan for her based on her irregular eating habits and lack of exercise, which caused her obesity.

First, I suggested increasing her daily activity by having her walk to work because her office is close to home. Second, I recommended adding strength training: three times a week. Monday: 10 squats 20 hip bridges 20 clamshells

Tuesday: 12 wall push-ups 12 kneeling push-ups 30 seconds plank

Thursday: 15 bent-over rows 15 bodyweight rows 30 seconds mountain climbers 15 cat stretches

The reason for these exercises is that strength training stimulates muscle growth, and the muscle system is a major component of basal metabolism. Even if you overeat at one meal, your body can still metabolize it if your basal metabolism is high. To become lean, you need to increase your muscle mass.

Lastly, I provided her with dietary advice: Breakfast: 3 egg whites, 1 whole egg, a bottle of low-fat milk (available online), a can of instant eight-treasure congee (available online) Snack: Nuts (brand doesn’t matter, for example, Walong nuts, available online) Lunch: 1 bowl of rice, 2 egg whites, a fist-sized portion of vegetables, a packet of ready-to-eat chicken breast (available online) Snack: A bottle of yogurt (available online) Dinner: 2 egg whites, 3 fist-sized portions of vegetables, a fist-sized portion of rice, a packet of ready-to-eat chicken breast (available online)

Xiaoya is not alone. Many of you are also eager to lose 20 or 30 kilograms in a short period and become the enviable Mr. or Ms. Perfect after successful weight loss. However, impulsive actions won’t yield any results, especially in weight loss. I believe Xiaoya can succeed in losing weight and avoid regaining it as long as she improves her diet and stays committed to exercising.

Lastly, I want to emphasize that weight loss is not a temporary endeavor but a lifestyle. Develop healthy habits, re-evaluate your relationship with food, and engage in exercise actively. Use these elements to replace the emotional aspects of binge eating after dieting.

If you don’t know how to create an eating and exercise plan based on your own body, feel free to leave a comment explaining your situation, and I will design a tailored plan for you.

I am Coach Lao Feng, a fitness coach who shares only valuable fitness advice. Follow me!


The Importance of Consistent Exercise and Diet Control for Fat Loss and Muscle Building

Losing fat is easy, but gaining muscle is difficult.

In general, when it comes to losing weight, as long as you exercise and control your diet rigorously, you will be able to slim down.

However, many people have a temporary concept of fat loss. They think that they need to lose weight only when they feel overweight. So they only exercise and control their diet during the “weight loss period”.

They eat and drink as they please on normal days without any control on diet or exercise. If they don’t gain weight, they have to go to the hospital.

Exercise goes against human nature, while indulgence is eternal. In fact, a part of human technological development is invented because humans are too lazy.

Muscles need to be trained to maintain them, and the same goes for fat loss. Instead of temporary fat loss, exercise should be integrated into daily life, along with continuous control of diet and occasional indulgence. This kind of indulgence does not bring guilt because you know that a little exercise can burn off those extra calories.

Rather than indulging all the time and exercising occasionally.

Moreover, as you get older, your metabolism slows down and you gain weight more easily. It takes more effort to maintain your figure compared to when you were younger. It is as the saying goes: running desperately, only to stay in the same place.

Life is like this, and so is your figure.

Unnatural Body State Requires Strict Maintenance

Because it goes against human nature, what you are talking about is nothing more than low body fat and large muscles. This state, to put it plainly, is the most unreasonable state of the body itself. It is naturally difficult to maintain. Because your body does not want you to maintain this state, it is very difficult to maintain this state without technology. Diet and training are extremely rigorous. If you relax even a bit, the body will take advantage of it.

The Benefits of Aerobic Exercise for Overall Health

The reason is very simple.

If your pursuit is the parameter of fat index, it will be difficult to maintain, of course.

If you pursue an overall healthy lifestyle, then it will be difficult for you not to maintain it.

For example, from the perspective of exercise, aerobic exercise is widely recognized as the most effective exercise for reducing fat. However, fat reduction is just one aspect of the value of aerobic exercise. Any top international physical activity guide will tell you that aerobic exercise is the key and main factor in maintaining health, with the overall health benefits as follows:

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, endometrial cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, and mental illnesses (anxiety and depression), as well as obesity.
  • Helps improve cognitive function, sleep quality, and quality of life.
  • Provides some degree of improvement in diseases such as breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and dementia (but not a cure).

Aerobic exercise can also reduce the risk of premature death:

It can be roughly considered that individuals who persist in sufficient aerobic exercise have a 30% lower probability of premature death compared to those who lack aerobic exercise.

Let me directly show you two screenshots from the World Health Organization’s guidelines for physical activity in adults:

The Ideal Body: A Sociological Perspective and a Physiological Perspective

  1. From a sociological perspective, the pursuit of aesthetic beauty is a higher social attribute that cannot overcome the lower animalistic attributes of gluttony and laziness. A fit and healthy body is the ideal state according to Plato.

  2. From a physiological perspective, a low body fat and muscular physique can only be achieved and maintained under extreme dietary and training conditions. It represents the pinnacle of a lifestyle that is unattainable for most people.

Balance Nutrition and Exercise

The so-called success is just a temporary change in data, reflecting only fluctuations in weight.

To call it a success is far from accurate.

In my opinion, to truly succeed in losing fat, two things need to be done well:

  1. Balanced nutrition. Do not diet, let alone binge eat. Instead of not eating certain foods for the purpose of losing fat, eat more nutritionally complete foods and less processed foods.

  2. Exercise reasonably. Let your body have enough lean meat and relatively less fat. Even if you cannot exercise for a period of time, you can still make use of daily activities to utilize the excess energy in your body.

Do not underestimate any small activity. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Without accumulating small steps, how can one reach a thousand miles?

Sustainable Weight Loss and Maintenance

Losing weight is easy to achieve because during the weight loss period, you are able to adhere to a strict diet and exercise regimen, both of which are taken to the extreme. You can see the results of your weight loss every day, which gives you a strong sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue.

However, the difficulty lies in maintaining the weight loss in the long term, because it is not possible to sustain such extreme dieting and exercise indefinitely. Over time, your body will start to crave food, gradually breaking your dietary restrictions. Your body will also become tired of exercising, causing you to relax.

Conquering a kingdom is easy, but maintaining it is difficult. This is an eternal truth.

How can you maintain the results after successfully losing weight?

Very few people can maintain the same diet and exercise routine for a long period of time, and these people are the top achievers in the field of weight loss. Therefore, do not expect yourself to be able to achieve the same level of dedication.

As an ordinary person, you have the inertia and desires of an ordinary person. Suppressing them too much is not a good approach. So, let’s talk about weight loss and persistence for an ordinary person.

I am a typical example.

I started my weight loss journey on July 23rd this year, and as of today, November 8th, it has been 3 and a half months. During this time, I have lost 8.6kg, going from 84.1kg to 75.5kg. On average, I have been losing less than 2.5kg per month.

Compared to those who claim to lose 15kg in 30 days, my progress is quite slow. But I am neither anxious nor impatient; I am enjoying the process of slow and steady weight loss.

Because from the beginning, my goal was not solely focused on rapid weight loss. My goal was to use the weight loss process to develop healthy exercise and dietary habits that could last a lifetime.

So my exercise and diet control are nothing special on a regular basis.

I mainly ride a bike and go for slow runs. I use shared bikes for commuting to work, with a one-way distance of about 17 kilometers, taking about an hour to complete. This distance and intensity are nothing remarkable among cyclists, so I prefer to ride alone and not join any groups. As for running, I aim for sessions that last no more than an hour, at a speed slightly faster than walking, focusing on sustainability rather than intensity.

In terms of diet, there isn’t much difference between my current diet and my diet before losing weight. Breakfast and lunch remain the same, with minimal control. The only difference is dinner, where I have replaced rice or flour-based meals with whole grains such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, pumpkins, corn, etc., accompanied by boiled eggs and vegetables. I still eat, but I no longer overeat. Occasionally, once every one or two months, I will go out with my wife for a big meal, but it doesn’t have much impact on my overall weight loss. Consider it as a way to satisfy my desires for food.

The way I exercise and eat is easy for me to stick with in the long term, without any difficulties, because these methods are easily accepted by my body. Even if I achieve my desired weight and successfully complete my weight loss journey, maintaining these habits will be effortless, and I won’t experience any rebounds.

Probability of question being a complaint if picture is posted by the asker.

High training level reflected in picture, making generic phrases unnecessary. If the picture is of the questioner himself/herself, then your question is likely just a complaint.

From the picture, it can be seen that the level of training is undeniably high. In the face of such level of skill, some empty and clichéd words can be seen as unnecessary and futile.

Bounce back with self-protection


The text highlights the inherent self-protective nature of the human body, emphasizing that even a slight relaxation can result in a strong rebound effect.


Because the body possesses an inherent self-protective mechanism, with a resilient core, any slight slackening will inevitably lead to a strong rebound!