Instead of fad diets, focus on healthy and sustainable weight loss methods or seek help from a dietitian or therapist.

Q: Why do I gain weight after losing it despite exercising daily and eating adequately? How do I stop constantly worrying about my weight?

If you’re worried about always gaining weight after losing some pounds, it’s best to adopt healthful habits that are sustainable in the long term.

While losing excess body fat can help reduce your risk of many chronic diseases and may help boost your self-esteem, using restrictive dieting practices is harmful and likely to set you up for failure.

Losing and regaining weight or “yo-yo dieting” is typically associated with restrictive eating methods that aren’t sustainable long term. Numerous studies have shown that using overly restrictive diet or exercise practices to drop pounds is ineffective.

In fact, research has shown that most dieters typically regain one-third of the weight they lost within 1 year, and that most dieters gain back most — if not all — of the weight within 3–5 years.

What’s more, less than 20% of people who try to lose weight by dieting achieve and maintain a 10% reduction of body weight for more than 1 year (1).

Dieting often causes repeated periods of weight loss followed by weight regain and can lead to a preoccupation with body size. This is harmful to both your mental and physical health (2, 3). 

Because it has been made very clear that restrictive diets are unhealthy and don’t work for long-term weight loss, the best way to avoid weight regain and constantly thinking about your body size is to avoid extreme weight loss methods like fad diets. 

Although restrictive diets can be tempting to those wanting to lose weight quickly, choosing safe, healthy, and sustainable weight loss methods are always the better option.

Plus, while adopting healthier habits may mean losing weight more slowly than you would on a restrictive diet, you’re much more likely to keep the weight off in the long term, which is important for your overall health.

If you’re struggling with healthy weight loss and find that you’re overly preoccupied with your food intake or weight, consider getting help from a professional like a registered dietitian or therapist who can help you reach your goals in a safe, healthy way.

Jillian Kubala is a Registered Dietitian based in Westhampton, NY. Jillian holds a master’s degree in nutrition from Stony Brook University School of Medicine as well as an undergraduate degree in nutrition science. Aside from writing for Healthline Nutrition, she runs a private practice based on the east end of Long Island, NY, where she helps her clients achieve optimal wellness through nutritional and lifestyle changes. Jillian practices what she preaches, spending her free time tending to her small farm that includes vegetable and flower gardens and a flock of chickens. Reach out to her through her website or on Instagram.