Who hasn't gained weight after a diet ends? The number might fill a small closet. As one of my friends who has been dieting since she went into training pants recollects, "I was at my lowest weight in l987 for about 10 milliseconds. Then I got off the scale and began to gain."
Even those of who weigh themselves constantly, and scrutinize their faces and bodies for the first sign of another chin or protruding belly, admit the impossibility of keeping their weight constant. To be sure, for the hypervigilant, a five-pound weight gain produces the same dismay as a 20-pound weight gain for the rest of us. But the fact that they can gain pounds despite constant self supervision is more evidence about the difficulty of keeping one's weight constant.
Of course, there are the rest of the dieters whose wardrobe reflects their continuing fluctuations in weight. Many of my weight-loss clients refuse to throw away clothes that are too big because they assume that weeks or months after the diet is over, they will grow back into them. And, sadly, sometimes the weight gained after a diet is considerably more than the weight that was so happily lost.
Everyone recognizes regaining weight as almost inevitable and yet at present few, if any, effective interventions exist to prevent it. Weight loss franchises,for example, offer free lifetime memberships for those who have maintained their weight loss. But, as a formerly fat friend of mine told me, "The only people who take advantage of this offer are those who somehow have managed not to gain back their weight. People I know who have regained are often too embarrassed to return." Studies offering comprehensive weight-loss support including prepared meals, consulting dieticians, psychological support, personal trainers and frequent weight monitoring have reported failing to prevent weight gain during the second year of the program. Yet this would be the period when, hypothetically, new eating, exercise and general lifestyle habits would already be solidified. Websites devoted to information about phentermine, a weight-kiss drug that is supposed to only be used for a few months, are filled with claims from people who purport that they have been taking the drug for years because they believe that once they stop, they will regain weight.