Adaptation is associated with weight regain

There is a strong association between metabolic adaptation and weight regain in people who have lost large amounts of weight (>10kg).

Of all the people who lost more than 10kg and then went on to regain the weight, there would have been a metabolic adaptation for every single one.

But this doesn’t mean that metabolic adaption makes weight loss inevitable.

Because of all the people who lose more than 10kg and keep the weight off, or go on to lose more, metabolic adaptation is also present.

Everyone who loses weight will see some form of metabolic adaptation, not just people who put it back on.

This can lead to people drawing somewhat biased conclusions, be it of a scientific or anecdotal nature.

This brings us to the observations of people who are able to successfully maintain bodyweight after a period of loss.

It is continually observed that maintaining a moderate-high level of physical activity is a predominant trait of those who maintain their weight.

Obviously, dietary control plays a factor because energy balance is still the king, but it’s an interesting observation that we can look back to metabolic adaptation.

If training is maintained for a period of time, there is a strong chance that volume will be increased and EAT will grow.

This would mean that there is more flexibility in the diet, due to the increased energy expenditure.

Once the energy deficit is removed (let’s call it 400kcal) and there’s an extra 100kcal of exercise per day, that’s an extra 500kcal that can be consumed while maintaining weight.

Therefore the dietary habits can change from during the weight loss phase while maintaining an energy balance.

However, if the exercise began to decrease, then food intake must be adjusted alongside it.

I sometimes mentioned to PT clients how interesting it would be to go back and try the workouts the did one year ago, or to be able to fast-forward to a year down the track.

Last year’s workout would now seem easy because of the adaptations from the past year.

Likewise, next year’s session would be insurmountable and it would be tough to comprehend even getting there, but they will.

The longer you train and the fitter you get, the more likely that EAT can be enhanced due to your increased training volume.

So whilst you would have burned more calories doing last years sessions back then, than you would right now, this is offset by the increased work you’re doing right now.

Tom Fitzgerald