Can You Avoid The Rebound Effect?

The first step you must take if you want a diet to work and to avoid the rebound effect, is planning and structuring clearly what, when and how much you're going to eat.
Can You Avoid The Rebound Effect?

Last update: 07 October, 2018

After months of dieting you’ve finally reached your goal weight. You’ve sacrificed and changed certain eating habits, planned your workouts and the results are great. However, because you’ve arrived at your desired weight, you begin to follow a more relaxed routine. Even though you’re not eating like you used to, you gradually begin to gain weight until you’re back to where you started. If you’ve ever been on a diet before, this surely sounds familiar? It’s called the ‘rebound effect’ and in this article we’ll tell you how you can avoid it.

Say no to miracle diets

There’s no magic recipe to lose weight. If you want to do it, you must keep in mind from the beginning, that it’s hard word and it requires effort and sacrifice. You must also keep in mind that weight loss is a progressive process; so, depending on how many pounds you want to lose, you may need to set medium- or long-term- goals for yourself.

You may lose weight with miracle diets at first. With some of these you can lose up to eleven pounds in three days, which is unhealthy. In reality, what you’re losing with quick and drastic diets is water weight. As soon as you have finished this type of diet, you’ll gain back all of the weight you lost, and maybe even more.

Woman eating healthy to avoid the rebound effect.

If you want to lose weight, choose a healthy and varied diet that you can sustain over time. As we’ve said before, miracles don’t exist and spending a few days or weeks without eating is useless if you’re going to return to your old habits afterwards.

Rule out low-calorie diets

A woman should eat between 1,500 and 2,000 calories per day, and a man between 1,800 and 2,500. Any diet that requires you to eat less than this, has a high chance of causing the rebound effect. There are diets that want you to eat around 500 calories per day…that’s totally crazy!

With low-calorie diets, all you’ll achieve is debilitating your muscles and feeling constantly tired. In the long run, those diets can cause severe health problems, such as anemia. It should be clear to you that weight loss isn’t a game and that your health always comes first.

The rebound effect always happens with miracle diets. In this case, it happens because when you consume very little calories, your metabolism slows down. When the diet ends, your body absorbs more fats than usual, because it’s lacking nutrients.

Turn you diet into a habit

When someone goes on a diet, they shouldn’t see it as something temporary, but rather, a continuous learning process. If you must go on a diet, it’s because you’re doing something wrong. It may mean you’re eating inadequately, you’re not working out, or even both. That’s why you should view diets as a learning process and a way to create healthy habits.

In addition to helping you to lose weight, a healthy diet also educates you about how you should eat and how you can lead a healthy lifestyle. When you reach your goal weight, you’ll have acquired a set of routines that will prevent the rebound effect. You shouldn’t look at diets as just a way to lose weight, but rather, as a way to improve your health and quality of life.

We don’t mean that you must follow a strict diet for the rest of your life. Just choose healthier meals and stop using certain ingredients.

Weekly calendar to plan a healthy diet.

Don’t stop working out

Sports are a fundamental basis for any diet. Depending on the pounds you want to lose, how much free time you have and your physical condition, you should search for a sport that suits you the best. Exercise will help you to lose weight faster, tone up your body and release stress.

Once you’ve reached your goal weight, don’t stop working out if you don’t want to experience the rebound effect. You can work out at a lower intensity, but don’t become too relaxed and fall back into a sedentary lifestyle. If you work out with a partner, it’ll be easier to stay fit and keep working out over time.

Take advantage of your diet to enjoy sports and turn them into a hobby. Hiking routes, cycling, walks, swimming… the options are endless, and they’ll help you to stay fit and have fun at the same time. Set goals to stay motivated and keep track of the workouts you do.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Gómez Díaz, A. (2021). El peligro de las dietas milagro. UCrea Repositorio abierto de la Universidad de Cantabria.
  • Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (OCU). (2021). Dieta equilibrada de 1500 calorías diarias.
  • Pichucho, C., & Dayana, J. (2022). Proceso de atención nutricional en paciente masculino de 35 años de edad con tuberculosis y desnutrición grado 2. Babahoyo: UTB-FCS, 2022.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.