Almost everyone who's lost weight has eventually put the weight back on.
Why this cruel reality? It's simple, really: During the first months of any diet, your body loses both fat and muscle. Then, when you gain back the weight, you add back only fat because it's much easier to gain fat than it is to gain muscle.
"That's the dirty little secret of most popular diet plans," says exercise researcher Ellington Darden, Ph.D., author of the new Women's Healthbook, The Body Fat Breakthrough. "They don't combine muscle-maintaining exercises with the calorie reduction. More muscle is your ticket to a better body."
It's no secret that muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so by having more lean muscle on your skeleton, you'll burn more calories even at rest. Fortunately, Darden says he discovered a super-efficient way to build muscle while losing weight: It's called "negative training," and Darden tested it on more than 100 people at Gainesville Health & Fitness in Florida a few years ago. The technique involves doing the lowering part, or "eccentric phase," of a resistance exercise very slowly. But Darden gave this old-school body building trick a tweak: He found that by using heavier weights and doing just one and a half reps very, very slowly, you can achieve remarkable results from just one or two short workouts per week.