Why do we put weight back on?

I try to watch very little TV, as (Un) Real (and Boring) Housewives of Melbourne and CSI Iowa consistently provide so little entertainment. Alas I do have a television, so I can't escape some shows and oh-so-many commercials.

The food commercials intrigue me. I raise my hands when Milo promotes a healthy morning, and Pizza Hut adds a cheeseburger to each slice of pizza crust. Huh? Currently, one is standing out above all – Jenny Craig sponsoring Magda Szubanski's weight loss (Part 2).

Jenny Craig is taking quite a risk, because in paying Magda $1.25 million for a sequel, two advertising messages from her new commercial smacked me squarely in the face:

a) "Whoops, that weight loss plan didn't work;" and/or,

b) "It's OK if you put the weight back on. Like Magda, it's OK to come back (and add to the Jenny Craig cash register again)."

Which brings this column to discuss a life and health message: Why do we put weight back on? So many folks lose it, then find it again. It's a struggle, and it's damaging to the body, because the body doesn't like change – it prefers long-term, healthy living.

Here are a few theories:

It's not fun losing weight

Take somebody that has a relationship with food and is overweight. Salt, sugar, and fat becomes a friend that hugs you, because mega-taste feels good. Take that friend away to lose weight and you're depriving yourself of what you love, of what makes you feel good. If weight loss is the result when you're not having fun, chances are the weight will pile back on when you're ready to get back to fun living and taste. You've got to find a way to make healthy recipes and healthy living into their own fun.

You didn't exercise

Diet companies love it when you fully rely on their food plan. And dieters love it when these diets say "no strenuous exercise required". I'm a firm believer in exercise as a weight loss tool, and equally important as a maintenance tool. When you hit your goal weight, it's fun to re-introduce some of the naughty food treats that won't touch the sides because you're toning and moving your body for the long-term. Ignore exercise, and watch the kilos slowly come back on.


Dieting didn't work

In American Psychologist 2007, UCLA reported results on dieting where individuals are likely to lose 5 to 10 per cent of their weight, then the majority gain it back plus more. Other studies even use dieting as a future predictor of weight gain. UCLA ultimately concluded dieting does not work in the long-term. So, if you're dieting? You're in trouble unless you're making lifestyle change permanent.

You didn't learn anything

To lose weight, if all you did was Dial-1800 and collected food at your doorstep each day, that does not equip you for a post-diet, healthy life. Did you learn to cook healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks? Nope. You learned very little except how to microwave three square meals per day. Did you starve yourself, or drink chilli, lemon, and syrup potions to lose weight? Then you learned the wrong lessons. You are the CEO of your body; learn and lead it to a healthier lifestyle.

You reached a fake finish line

When goal weights get reached, you can't think "Yes, I did it … I'm finished!". Lifestyle change isn't about reaching a finish line. If you hit your goal weight, change your mindset and don't celebrate by re-introducing the old, naughty lifestyle. You didn't reach your destination, but rather a new, healthier, and happier starting line.

You did it for the money and the fame

Celebrities yo-yo because they did it for the money. They did for the contract, and they did it for the PR opportunities to connect with the public. But did they do it for their health and happiness? Only they know that answer.

You just don't want it badly enough

Maybe you don't mind the weight and prefer pizza, booze, and laziness. Rather than stepping up to the healthy challenge, you'd rather lay down and play Atari. That's a shame, yet that's the reality.

I've written before that "The mind is like a waterfall - start with your head, and only then can lifestyle change flow down to the rest of the body". I'm cheering for Magda and many more to find a happier, healthier lifestyle … not to star in more sequels than Rocky.

Ultimately, I don't care if Jenny Craig's strategy is financially lucrative – I'll let their marketing and strategy team sweat that one out. In the meantime, I hope Magda and the masses do their own sweating and swearing while losing some kilograms … for good.

Have you lost weight then put it back on? Why do you think that happened? What helps you keep it off for good?

You can email me here or follow me on Twitter .