Why We Struggle Stay Slim

man on scaleThe human body is very good at maintaining weight, it is theorized that there is a pre-determined range in which your body likes to sit within. Scientists call this the set point theory. Generally following normal eating patterns your body might drift up and down a few kilos according to season or environmental prompts that cause you to eat more or less food. Your body maintains it’s weight by making you feel hungry prompting you to eat, or when you have eaten too much you burn more energy in heat.

There are a number of things that can drift our set point up or down. For example chronic over eating or lack of exercise, this is what occurs in the case of obesity. On the slip side, we can push our natural set point lower through exercise and healthier eating behaviours.

Due to this genetic predisposition to being at a certain body weight, the body has mechanisms in place to combat variations in food intake and hence changes in body weight.

When some one tries to lose weight though restrictive dieting, the body goes into famine mode and things occur hormonally to stop the weight loss.

When some one tries to lose weight though restrictive dieting, the body goes into famine mode and things occur hormonally to stop the weight loss. First and for most after only a few hours of restricting carbohydrate, blood sugar levels drop and we start to feel hungry. In some instances you may even get sugar cravings. This usually prompts dieters to cave in and seek out carbohydrates and sugars to combat this. Derailing the entire process of dieting and leaving the dieter feeling like a failure.

Another hormone leptin, plays a huge role in how much and when you eat. Leptin is a hormone that is released when we eat food. It controls the amount of fat our body stores it’s also a appetite suppressant. Without leptin people feel hungry all the time. This is exactly what happens on restrictive eating plans, low levels of leptin causes extreme hunger and people derail from their dieting plan.

Similar things happen with exercise. Some people can feel hungry post exercise, causing them to over eat more than what they burnt off doing the training in the first place.

Why does our body fight back after losing weight?

Our body fights against weight loss because we are trying to work against our genetics. Our genes are primed for survival. The body is designed to store fat for times of need. In our modern life this is a bad thing, because we have food in abundance and no reason to do physical activity unless we want to. We have ancient genes in a modern world, which is killing us.

Dieting and trying to stay slim is trying to over ride the bodies’ natural biological drive to survive. Research has shown that 80% of people weight rebound after sliming. Only 20% of people who lose weight actually maintain the loss long term. The reason why these people keep it off has nothing to do with the type of diet they choose, they keep it off because of the behaviours and new routines ingrained into their daily lives. [Read more…]

Best and Worst Diets, 2015

173689495_a345eaec99_zObesity rates are soaring globally. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.9 billion adults are overweight, and over 600 million are seriously overweight or obese.

Many countries are facing an epidemic of obesity, including Australia. Sixty-three percent of Australians are overweight. An increase of approximately 50 percent since 1989. In western New South Wales, a whopping 79 percent of people are overweight.

Other countries fare even worse. In the U.S., more than two-thirds of the population are considered to be overweight or obese, and this number is only expected to increase. The graph below (using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) details just how pronounced this problem has become in the U.S.

Screenshot 2015-05-09 13.27.46
Source: NHANES, 2009–2010

Is dieting the solution?

To combat this trend, many people attempt to go on diets that may not be as healthy as they think. The U.S. News and World Report recently released their 2015 best and worst diets overall after giving 22 health experts a list of 35 diets to assess based on safety, how easy it was to follow, nutrition, effectiveness, weight loss, and its prevention of diabetes and heart disease. [Read more…]

Science and Weight Control

testtubeWeight control is one of the toughest things a person can face. If you have conquered weight loss and successfully obtained your ideal weight, then you have already faced a difficult challenge. You must now prepare for a lifetime of controlling your weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle so that your previous efforts will not be made in vain. Thanks to various studies, there are numerous things that science can teach us about weight control. Keeping these in mind throughout the process can help you maintain a healthy weight and ultimate lead to a healthier lifestyle.

  • Weight control requires regular maintenance
  • Protein and carbohydrates must be monitored
  • Psychological factors affect weight control
  • Weight loss method does not affect weight control results
  • Self-monitoring is a key to successful maintenance
  • Medical issues can affect weight control

Weight control requires regular maintenance:

Just because you lost weight does not mean that you are home free. Maintaining your weight can be almost if not more difficult of a challenge as losing the weight in the first place. Studies have shown that those who have lost weight actually increase their calorie intake and reduce their energy expenditure once they lose their desired weight. The result from a 1999 study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology showed that 35% of those who lost weight regained the weight due to maintenance issues. This means that successful weight control must involve regular maintenance such as continuing a healthy diet and exercising regularly. [Read more…]

Sleep well, lose weight

We all know that sleep is a vital aspect of the human condition. In today’s busy world, snoozing for the recommended eight hours every night might be deprioritized by those looking for a jumpstart or trying to cram for a history midterm. There are always other, more important things than shutting down your body for extended periods of time. After all, it couldn’t really hurt that much, right?

In reality, studies have shown that sleep is almost intrinsically linked to your body’s ability to lose weight or maintain it. But, how exactly does insufficient sleep contribute to weight gain and are there any long-term risk factors associated with chronic sleep deprivation?

The Science behind Sleep and Weight Fluctuation

You can basically understand a good night’s sleep as a solid 8 hours of zero caloric intake. People who stay up late or have short sleep durations tend to eat more to maintain the requisite amount of energy. Indeed, studies have shown that insufficient sleep leads to reductions in the “satiety hormone” leptin and increases in the hunger hormone, ghrelin. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body will literally tell you to eat more by fluctuating the balance of these hormones.

But, why does it do this? It certainly seems counterintuitive for the body to instruct you to eat more. But, part of the reason it does this is so that you can maintain energy even in the face of a lack of sleep. In ancient and often more urgent times, this was a valuable evolutionary response to keep humans moving and out of danger even if they hadn’t slept well in days. [Read more…]

Energy Balance

About two thirds of all Americans are overweight. The proportion of overweight adults has been growing steadily over the last two decades. The reasons for this are not well understood but a number of theories have been proposed. The ubiquity of fast food restaurants and junk food options; increases in portion size; limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables; changes in our environment that discourage physical exercise; and changes in professional responsibilities that have led to more sedentary work lives. The combined effect of all these changes is an increase in the calories we consume and a decrease in the calories we burn. This net effect is referred to as energy imbalance.

Energy imbalance occurs when we consumer more calories than we burn. For example, let’s say that it takes 2,000 calories a day to maintain your current weight. If you consumed, 2,500 calories a day, you would have an energy imbalance of 500 calories. Over a week, that would equal 3,500 calories (7 days x 500 calories per day). 3,500 calories equals one pound of weight or to put it simply, you ate enough to gain one pound. Usually weight gain is not this sudden. But most of us do slowly put on weight, almost a pound a year. How does this happen? Its as simple and as insidious as consuming one extra soda a week. A twelve ounce soft drink has about 150 calories. One extra soft drink a week over the course of the year amounts to 7,800 extra calories or two pounds of weight gain. One to two pounds of weight gain may not seem like a lot but over time it adds up. Between ages 25 and 45, it would amount to 20-40 extra pounds of fat. [Read more…]